A weekend of safe meals away from home!

Salad Raspberry

This past weekend, I felt extremely safe with all my meals, even though I was far from home! The conference I attended was held at Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute. The kitchen staff had been provided a list of all my allergies by the conference organizers prior to the conference. Meals were buffet style for starters and breakfasts, and plated for the main meals. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would mention to a waitress that I was the one with multiple food allergies. They would nod, tell me to have a seat and shortly after, one of the kitchen managers would bring my plate out to me. The food was great and the staffs attention to my allergies and full understanding and appreciation of the severity of them was one of a kind.

Steak Dinner

Each meal, I felt included. My meals were almost identical to everyone else’s plates! They did a wonderful job at every meal. They even had a sorbet for me and a nice strawberry and mint fruit cup.

I had dessert with every dinner! A real treat :)

DessertSorbet

Thank you Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute for such wonderful service. The staff were friendly and always smiling! Good safe food, attentive staff, a beautiful venue with squash, tennis and basketball courts, indoor and outdoor pool, an indoor running track and walking trails makes this Centre the perfect getaway!!!

If you are looking for a place to stay somewhere near Toronto I HIGHLY recommend a visit! The staff will take great care of you.

For food allergy and environmental allergy accommodations, I rate them as a 10/10.

 

A good night’s sleep ahead!

hotels

Tonight I am staying at the Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute for a conference. Upon arrival I had a few questions I asked the hotel staff to ensure I would have a good night’s sleep, and a safe stay. I asked whether the hotel was entirely pet-free, and whether or not there were windows in the room. Lucky for me, no pets, and large doors instead of windows! We’ve had the door open ever since we arrived and the room is less stuffy and my allergies are not too bad, in comparison to other hotels I’ve stayed at. The staff have been EXTREMELY accommodating with my allergies and have made my first day here a success.

hotel_window

These are a few questions I normally ask when I first call in and book a hotel.

  • Do you allow pets in the hotel? Are there rooms that have never had a pet?
  • Do the windows open in the rooms?
  • I have severe allergies to cleaning products and chemicals/perfumes. Can you please have them no spray any perfumes or use other scented fragrances and possibly clean the room with a mild cleaning agent, or vinegar?
Often times I’ve “shopped around” if there are no windows or patio doors that open. When I arrive to check-in, there is usually special attention given and on several occasions, I have had a note from managers sitting on the desk when I entered the room. 
Have you ever stayed in a hotel? When you are planning a trip or heading to a conference, what do you do beforehand?
Tonight is bound to be a good night of sleep! Time to call it a day. :)

Would you happen to have any recommendations please?

Hi Erika.

How are you?

From a Google search, I see that you are living in Victoria with food allergies. I started my research into safe places to stay, visit, and dine either in Victoria or Vancouver. My daughter is allergic to peanuts and chickpeas (and possibly other legumes that are yet unconfirmed).

We are planning to finally see some of your beautiful province of BC this summer (either July or August).

Would you happen to have any recommendations please? Any hotels, restaurants, activities that stand out to you as being extremely accommodating to those with life-threatening allergies? We’re actually think we might be safest in a hotel with a kitchenette so we could stock some safe foods; however, it would be nice to have a true vacation and get away from most, if not all, cooking. :)

Any suggestions or leads you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance, and best wishes! I really like your website.

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Hi,

Ok, here are a few starters for restaurants in Victoria, BC

The Old Spaghetti Factory – Also in Vancouver… I have eaten here numerous times. The kitchen manager and staff in Victoria are well trained with allergies and take special precautions. I believe the only nuts they have are almonds which are in one of their salads and a pesto plate. If you ask to speak to the manager, they will accommodate for you.

Bard & Banker – They are extremely understanding of food allergies and take it seriously. I believe the manager has a child with allergies, and the staff is well aware. Calling ahead is great. If you look at the menu ahead of time and call them to explain the allergies, what your daughter might like to order, they will make a special plate for her.

My blog post: Hands down best attention from restaurant staff yet! Bard & Banker is the place to go with food allergies

Cabin 12 – Does manly breakfasts and lunches and they were “Allergy Aware”

Fifth Street Bar and Grill - I was planning a christmas event here and they seemed understanding of my allergies and willing to work with me. I have not eaten here though. We had our party elsewhere.

Whitespot – Have eaten here on multiple occasions. I always ask for the manager and discuss my allergies and they have a whole allergy binder too! With which foods contain what allergens.

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A really good bakery, that is entirely peanut free (caution, they do use other nuts) is:

Broadmead Bakery & Comments from others

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As for activities, there is the museum and IMAX theatre here in victoria, double decker tour buses, sea kayak excursions or rentals, paddle board rentals, and several nice beaches. There are also a lot of parks to visit, for hikes and a day at the lake.

I can come up with more places to eat and places to stay. I need to call it a night though.

I will come back to you with more tomorrow.

If you would like me to assist you with organizing your trip further than the brief suggestions I will be providing you; speaking to the restaurant staff before you visit and finding fun, safe activities to do, let me know.

Sincerely,
Erika

Cruise ships!

Cruise ships at port

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went out to the breakwater here in Victoria and watched the cruise ships come in. We watched two cruise ships dock at port, to allow passengers to visit the island for the evening. This is a fairly frequent site here in the summer months. It’s always fun to watch the massive cruise ships dock. It all seems slow motion! Watching these cruise ships reminded me of my experience yrs ago, aboard a cruise to Alaska, on the Zandaam with Holland America, and all I wanted to think about was when I might be able to go on another cruise!

Cruise Ship

Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Perhaps a family cruise to Alaska or warmer yet… the Caribbean? Nowadays there are many cruises, including themed ones, like the Disney Cruise! For families who have a severely food allergic child, a cruise may be a scary thought. An impossible event. To others it may seem manageable if the necessary precautions are taken.

I have been on a cruise. To this very day, it was the most memorable trip of my life! We planned safe snacks to take with us, spoke to the booking agent about the allergies prior to the trip, and had a meeting with the kitchen manager our first day on the ship. Before a single meal had been made. I had a wonderful experience! The manager sat down with me every night at dinner, for a few minutes to plan all my meals for the following day. He advised it best that I only eat at the main restaurant, so he could make me the meals, and our family decided to eat there for most of the meals. There was one lunch where my family wanted to try out a different restaurant on board. I walked to the main dinning room, where my lunch had been prepared for me, asked to speak to the manager, as I did at each meal, and he brought me a plate that I took with me to the other dinning room. Not once did I feel scared. I felt safe.

It is all about being safe. Making sure they can accommodate your allergies. That they understand how severe and life-threatening the allergies are. As I mentioned above, there are many different cruise lines out there nowadays. You need to take precautions. If you don’t feel like they understand, consider looking for another cruise line.

 

 

 

Wearing a mask on the bus

photo

Have any of you considered wearing a mask on public transit or on chartered buses? I have worn a mask when on larger chartered buses for longer trips, like 1 hr or more. I have never worn them on public transit. I will be taking a chartered bus at the end of the month and know, without any doubt that I will be wearing a mask. I have a stock at home and am ready to sit next to the window and strap my mask on. I’ve had reactions in buses before and wearing the mask makes me feel safe.

So what’s the difference with wearing a mask on local public transit over a chartered bus? Well, triggers are definitely the exact same, so the benefit would be the same. Well worth it! The difference is that I would get a whole lot more stares and feel much less comfortable on public transit. The crazy thing is that other countries wear masks all the time. But here it would get quite a bit of attention. People wear them for colds and illnesses, however wearing them for allergies might not actually be all that common, if in fact it happens at all.

How do you deal with triggers on the bus. Would you wear a mask?

Detective work for a stuffy nose…

Snuffy

Friday afternoon we left for a weekend away and I had thought to pack one of my dust mite pillow covers and an extra pillow slip instead of bringing my pillow. Friday night I was so tired I fell asleep without putting the dust mite pillow cover and new slip on and had quite a night. I felt like the Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street! Being so tired I took some antihistamines, turned over and went back to sleep… Though I did go through an entire box of Kleenex!

I couldn’t figure out why my nose had been so stuffy. We opened the windows, aired out the cabin and I hoped for a better night’s sleep.

Just before bed, I remembered that I had packed the pillow cover and extra slip. How could I have forgotten! I zipped up the cover and that night I slept without a single sniffle. A simple cover made ALL the difference :)

Next time I sleep somewhere else I am going equipped with my own pillow, or at the very least, a dust mite cover and extra pillow slip. Do you ever get a stuffy nose when sleeping somewhere else? Does your pillow travel with you? I think I need a traveling pillow!

 

Do you Allow Pets?

This weekend, I stayed at The Inn on Long Lake in Nanaimo and it was a wonderful experience! From start to finish. I was EXTREMELY pleased. I called in 48 hrs before our arrival date and mentioned that I had severe allergies to pets (cat and dog) and wanted to know whether they allowed pets. The women I spoke with was extremely understanding and explained that yes, they do accept pets. She said that they “try” to keep the third floor free of pets, though they cannot guarantee 100% that there has never been a pet in those rooms. She said that the decision would be up to me, dependent on how severe my allergy was.

I expressed that my allergies were VERY severe and she offered to put me on hold whilst she spoke to her manager. Only a few minutes later she returned. She explained that they did have a few rooms that were a little higher priced as they had a king size bed and were more spacious. For the extra $20.00 I decided it would be the best decision for me. Now, some might wonder… how did you decide? Well, considering I have had a tough time with my asthma the last few months and that Inns, Hotels etc. usually trigger allergies, due to the cleaning products they use and detergent for sheets and towels, the decision was a , “no-brainer” for me. No point adding another “possible” trigger into the mix!

I opened the patio door for the night (usual practice for me) and slept great.I had a great stay despite being a little itchy from the sheets and towels, which I have gotten used to.

I highly recommend their beautiful in, with views on long lake. What an amazing sunrise this morning.  :)