Days Out With Allergies- Drayton Manor Theme Park

My Daughter is Thomas mad, I mean obsessed with Thomas. We had a disaster of a holiday, resulting in a broken narrow boat and being stranded by a lock ( thanks Hoseasons) so to make up for said disaster we had our first trip to Drayton Manor Park.

Munchkin spent the first hour in a mixture of excitement and amazement, and I have to admit it brought back nostalgia from school trips and summer holidays in my teenage years. Thomas Land is fantastic, lots of rides all perfect for little ones, plenty of photo opportunities and trains, lots of trains.

Personal highlights are the Troublesome Trucks, and Winston’s Car ride. We loved it so much we booked an over night stay a few weeks later in the hotel for the much anticipated 4th Birthday.

Fast forward to this point, the check in was smooth and very easy. For £30 extra we were offered the themed Thomas bedroom. We said yes- they are amazing from Thomas bunk beds, stunning painted walls, track carpets and breakfast with The Fat Controller the next morning I’d really recommend a stop over if you can ( this is not a sponsored post it REALLY is that great).

This leads me on to eating in the hotel and park. In every outlet there is full allergen menus, many you do t need to ask its all displayed on the walls. This is from The Burger Kutchen, an actual burger that’s both gluten and nut free. Thumbs up all round ( delicious it was to).

The Grill in is another excellent choice. Both chef and magnet sign to say your food is safe to eat. They even did a extra safe special treat for mini me on her birthday. We were so touched and could not sing their praises higher.

I really recommend you go for a day ( or two) to Drayton Manor it’s great fun for all, with or with out allergies.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It’s all my own views and I was really impressed.

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Round Up of My Favourite New Free From Products

Well hello to you all and welcome to my first post of National Free From Week. This week you can expect a recipe ( or two). A review and maybe a competition- so keep your peepers peeled.

Anyway I thought I’d start with sharing my favourite new products. It seems ( rather like autumn tv) that the run up to Christmas brings all things new and exciting and this includes those in the Free From world to. And yes, yes I know I’ve mentioned the C word but those of you with children will be hearing about it already- unless it’s just mine that is obsessed with all things festive?

First up is this in Tesco

Actual Chocolate gateau, for £3 that’s dairy free and delicious to, really what’s not to love? I can hear the cheers and whoops all around from here.

Whilst we are on the subject of Tesco I should add Schar have introduced actual waffles, no good for us due to Lupin flour in the ingredients but exciting none the less. There are also an Almond Bakewell, Fruit slice and Brownie from Mr Kipling on the shelves this week in your local store. Other highlights are a celebration cake kit from Delicious Alchemy and gluten free San Miguel ( yes really).

In Sainsbury’s not only are they extending their Gary ( dairy free cheese) range, Christmas has also come early. Last year the Christmas pudding was my favourite and is gluten, nut and dairy free so naturally I might have purchased one- I’m not bonkers honest, they just sell very quickly.

Lastly my favourite news is that Baileys have launched their Dairy free, gluten free version of the classic drink. I’m yet to find it, I believe that Wholefoods are stockists, but I cannot wait to give this a try.

So there we have a brief round up of my new favourites. Have you spotted anything that tickles your tastebuds? Let me know in the comments below.

Where have I been?

You may or may not have wondered that I’ve been a smidgen quiet the past few weeks. I’ve not forgotten you. However a broken iPad and damaged internet connection has been the main culprit.

Mini me has started school in reception, so getting care plans in place and helping with allergy training the staff have also taken time and a LOT of energy. We have also embarked upon flexi-schooling so 3 days at school and 2 days home education. For us, at the moment, this is working wonderfully, expect some blog posts on how we get on soon.

Right short and sweet today, but ovens are on, and some recipes with an autumnal feel will be up this week.

Have a great week my lovelies x

Roasted Summer Squash

 
Looks good hey? Well I might have ( slightly) underestimated how many of these funny looking space ships came from a single plant. The answer is loads in case you are wondering.  

In my quest for expanding my vegetable growing I decided on these mainly because they looked funky and bright yellow 

 

Anyway a very quick update on how I cook them. 
  

Into a roasting tin chop your squash, courgette, onion, garlic cloves- anything you fancy really. 

  • Drizzle in olive oil  and fresh thyme 
  • Cook in an oven at 180 for 30-40 minutes
  • Et voila roasted veg.

 

Waffles- Gluten and Nut Free

I know what your thinking, it’s not the potato kind, but the lovely, douse me in ice cream or maple syrup kind.  

The long story short is that we purchased a ( sort of tacky) waffle iron in the sale and munchkin then kept on and on until I made some. They are delicious, the downside is that mini me now demands them a lot. This is ok and they are so easy to make, and easily adapted to suit a lot of diets. 

  
Ingredients 

  • 240ml milk of choice
  • 150g GF self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Optional 1tsp of vanilla extract 

Method

  • Combine everything in a bowl to form a smooth batter
  • Pour into your preheated iron and let cook
  • Cover with whatever you fancy and enjoy. 

It really is that simple. 

What is your favourite waffle topping? Let me know in the comments below. 
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the ear ache you will receive from your kids wanting these again and again x 

Appy Kids Company Juice Review and Competition. 


See all this in the picture above? It could be yours but we will get to that later.

You may ( or may not) know that I have a munchkin, and I may have commented on the fact she loves Peppa pig and Paw Patrol once or twice.  I know I’m not on my own, most children go through a Peppa stage I think.

Anyway the lovely people over at Appy Kids Co contacted us asking if we would like to try these juices, not only that we have collaborated to offer you all the chance to try them to. If you hadn’t guessed already Appy Kids sell licensed character juice drinks, which are made with natural ingredients and in ranges such as Peppa, The Gruffalo, Minions and Paw Patrol.


We had the Orange Paw Patrol pouches and mixed berry Peppa cartons to try. They are all much lower in sugar, (see Here for typical ingredients list) suitable for most diets and contain added vitamins as well.  I was happy for LR to try these, I’m always conscious of sugar content, in terms of teeth health and diet but 3.75g per 100 MLS is around about what these drinks are, which is so much better than some on the market- it’s a win for mums, and kids alike.

So how to they taste? Im Pleased to say LR liked both, her favourite is Paw Patrol ( I suspect Chase on the front has something to do with it). Mind you she drank both and has gone back for more on different days. I take this as a positive- wild horses would not make her eat or drink something she doesn’t like. Her only criticism was that Rubble was missing from the front of the carton, but taste wise it’s all good. 

For research obviously I had a few sips to. Both are very tasty and refreshing. I like the fact they don’t leave that horrid artificial after taste in your mouth.  They don’t cause a sugar rush after either, so that alone is a thumb up from me. Perfect for the back to school lunch boxes.  ( yeah I know 5 wks- you’ve got this).

So how can you get your hands on this great prize of:

  • 3 x 5-pack of Paw Patrol Juice Drink Pouches
  • 3 x 3-pack of Peppa Pig Fruit Drink Cartons
  • 1 x Peppa Pig 9in1 Bumper Puzzle Pack by JUMBO GAMES

That is easy just follow the instructions in the box below ( just click the link) 

Winner will be drawn at random next week. Good luck to you all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We Love Cake- Review

Bold title I know, but really who doesn’t love cake? You know when it’s been one of those weeks? Well it has for me, preparation for mini me starting school, and getting care plans in place takes a lot of work ( and phone calls), so imagine my surprise when a parcel from We Love Cake arrived on the doorstep.  It helped break the week up, although I have been swimming a couple of extra times to counteract the cake. 

  

This fab little bundle co-insides with the new launch of the Brownies and Bakewell Tarts in to Iceland stores across the country. Something else to point out is that they are all gluten, wheat and dairy free, there is obviously almonds in the bakewell so no go for nut allergies. Don’t worry, I’m not cruel, mini me was at school introduction when the photos and tastings were going on. 

So what are my thoughts?

 

The tarts are delicious, lovely crispy pastry ( mine is mostly always a disaster), with a generous amount of jam. The apricot was my favourite- the jam has a sweet but tart flavour that bursts on your tastebuds. All the jams don’t taste artificial, and helpfully don’t set your teeth on edge from too much sugar either. So thumbs up for these. Blackcurrant and strawberry were the other 2 flavours. 

   

Now before the mutters of  “Not another Brownie” start, hear me out. I liked these. I loved the fact they are packaged in twos- great for lunch boxes or picnics.  They have large chocolate chips and a soft squidgy centre with a good chocolate hit. Considering they are dairy free as well you would never know, which I did wonder about, as I’m guilty of adding butter to my brownies. 

  Now I’ve never been a huge Bakewell fan, it’s not something we have often mostly due to containing almonds, but these are new and I like to try different things. The problem I have with bakewell is the icing- it’s often so sweet and sickly, which puts me off. These have the same crisp pastry ( hooray) and a good portion of jam ( great, as some as so stingy on the jam). I didn’t like the cherry, but I hate glacé cherries so nothing new there, but and here is the BIG BUT the icing did not offend me. It’s sweet, but not sickly and doesn’t overpower the almond taste of the pie.  Of all Bakewell tarts I’ve tasted this is the winner in my book. 

  
So there you have it, I enjoyed these cakes. Keep a look out in an Iceland near you. Round of applause fir We Love Cake. 

Have you tried these, or any more of the We Love Cake range? Let me know your favourites in the comments below. 
Disclaimer: I was sent these products to try- all opinions are my own and honest ( promise). 

  

Gluten Free Chocolate “Mini Milks” 

Hello to you all, hope you are enjoying this fine sunny weather we are having. It’s Monday it’s the last week of term for most of the munchkins and I’m sure you’d like to know about a really easy treat?  I’m right aren’t I? 

Whilst it’s great that tesco have lunch a GF DF mini milk style lolly, it still hs the dreaded may contain nuts message, so still best avoid for us.  Anyway I that I’ll make my own, on mini me’ request we got some of these

 Kitchen Craft, Ice Lolly Moulds, Set of 6“>

And set off to make these. You have to excuse the photos- the down side of this mould is that they look less umbrella like when out of its plastic case……

  

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbs cacao or cocoa powder
  • Either 2 tbs of caster sugar or 1-2 tbs of maple syrup to sweeten. 

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a pan and heat, do not let it boil
  • Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes then pour into the moulds
  • When cold place in the freezer
  • After 30 minutes- 1 hr I give the mixture a stir to help stop crystals forming
  • Eat when completely frozen.  

The added benefit of these is that you could use a combination of coconut milk and cream for a dairy free version.  

See there you have it- not really cooking by any scale of the imagination but delicious none the less.  
*this post does contain an affiliate link. If you do click and buy the moulds it just means I get a few pennies. 

Review- Bakemeister Gluten Free 

  
Check this out, it looks delicious right? These little lovelies are made by Bakemeister, a new company  entering into the free from market. They offer gluten, dairy and egg free products so catering for a fair amount of the free from community. 

Anyway I was kindly sent a box of samples to try, which myself and a colleague ( also gluten free) put them to the test. 

In the box we had :

  • Chocolate Sour Cherry Brownies
  • Italian lemon almond cookies
  • Banana Loaf Cake
  • Carrot Loaf Cake
  • Oat, Walnut & Blueberry Cookies. 

  

    So how do they taste? Well my personal favourites were the almond cookies- a perfectly balanced combination of lemon and almond, coupled with a soft but chewy biscuit were fabulous. They are great with a coffee ( and we all know about my coffee obsession don’t  we? ) Whilst we are on the topic of cookies the oat, walnut and blueberry cookies were not too shabby either, they have a crunch with a slight tartness of the blueberries which were satisfying on the tastebuds, and yes I * might* have dunked them, and they were amazing with tea. 

     The chocolate brownies were a treat as well, very dark, and rich with generous hits of sour cherries running through. I liked these as they are a grown up brownie, less of the sugar or that artificial sweetness you can get with some brownies, and more of a decadent chocolatey hit.  Be warned though the portion size is generous so you might want to tackle them in two sessions. 

    Now my friend loved the carrot loaf cake, she enjoyed the moist sponge with ample walnuts through it. Whilst I loved the flavour I wasn’t as taken with the nuts, but I don’t really like nuts in many cakes, it’s just a personal preference thing. We did both agree that the banana loaf was a winner, moist and sticky with a lovely flavour- my tip is is great with a cup of tea, or warmed with custard as a pudding – win win if you please. 

      
    So the over all verdict was these are a fabulous addition to the free from market, keep an eye out for their full launch, you won’t be disappointed. 

    For more information on Bakemeister click Here
    Disclaimer : I was sent these products to try, all opinions are my own, honest ones. 

    Easy Lemon and Elderflower Curd. 

    It’s that time of the year, the weather is supposedly getting better, and every thing is starting to burst into life.  This means elderflowers are everywhere in the countryside and gardens alike.  Now I’m all for foraging and free food so what better than gather some of these highly scented little flowers and incorporate them into a recipe. 
    Elderflower works well with lemon as a flavour combination, think national trust tea rooms, there’s always a lemon and elderflower sponge (  or there was 17 yrs ago when I worked in one). So this got me thinking why not put them together in a curd. 

      
    I love lemon curd, the tartness and zing being my favourite, and my broody bum chickens have now snapped out of their recent nest box hogging so we are back up to full egg supplies – boom, curd here we come. ( it’s very easy to make as well). 

    Ingredients 

    • 200g caster sugar
    • Juice and zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
    • 55g butter
    • 2 elderflower heads 
    • 2 eggs beaten ( free range are best due to better coloured yolks). 

    Method 

    • In a pan over a gentle heat put the butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and snip off the elderflowers into the pan as well. Try not to use the stalks as they can be bitter. 
    • Melt the butter and let the sugar dissolve
    • Remove from the heat and let seep for about 5 minutes
    • Strain the mixture into a bowl and discard the flowers
    • Have a pan of simmering water and place your bowl on top
    • Stir in the eggs, then keep gently stirring until the mixture thickens ( it should coat the back of a spoon) 
    • Take off the heat and pour into sterilised jars

      
    So there you have it, super easy and delicious, all I can add is that the delicate flavour of the elderflowers adds a summery twist to an old classic,  so relax and enjoy some on some toast or crumpets ( or anything else that takes your fancy).