The Busy Parents Guide To Allergies- Book Review and Competition

We’ve all been there, your child has a range of symptoms, you go to the GP. Tests are carried out and all of a sudden your child is diagnosed with a food allergy or allergies.

Mini me’s first reaction was unfortunately anaphylactic due to a tiny bit of peanut butter, so in the space of about 30 minutes we dramatically discovered her allergy. And your life changes, right there, in that moment.

There’s the thing, it’s scary, and can be overwhelming and you’ll spend many an hour reading food labels, and have so so many questions. That is where this new book by Zoe T Williams could help you.


Zoe is an allergy blogger, who’s youngest child has allergies to oats, legumes, milk soya and eggs. She set up her blog and piers recipes and helpful advice. Leading on from this she has written this book and kindly sent me a copy to have a read through.

You can find Zoe’s blog Here

So having read this book I can honestly say it’s superb for all those parents who want some of those endless questions answered. It takes you from birth to university, and thoroughly covers all aspects of Allergies. I like how it’s easy to read, and set out in a way that doesn’t overload you.

Zoe has also included some really useful templates that are clear and easy to follow. I particularly like this one

This is a checklist for going on holiday- and when it’s your first one post diagnosis it can be a bit nerve wrecking.

I also like the very comprehensive section on challenge ladders- because hopefully you will encounter these at some point as your child can grow out of some allergies.

Anyway don’t just take my word for it, you can purchase Zoe’s book for yourself HERE ( Not an affiliate link)

The other great news is you can try and win yourself a copy of this great book. Zoe will kindly be sending the winner a copy after the competition ends next week.

you can enter the competition Here

Hello 2019

Good bye 2018, and for the most parts good riddance. Although not as horrid as 2015 ( my annus horribilis if you will) there are some parts of last year that I’m glad to be leaving behind us.

That said it’s not been all bad- I’ve also learnt to ride the ups and downs and go with the flow more. We also made some great memories as a family, and things like this little blog have continued to grow which amazes and excites me all at the same time.

Also we have made another year without having to use an epi pen on mini me. It came close ( cheers mr insect) but never the less a year without an anaphylactic shock is always a positive, especially as we’ve all had the epi- pen shortage issues as well, I was like a bloodhound at one point trying to track one down.

Other positives are we had a great family holiday, fabulous days out and plenty of fun in the glorious summer heat wave.

My little blog- this little blog that I started a few months after L’s first reaction, has grown, and continues to grow with followers which amazes and humbles me at the same time. Thank you to you all.

This year I’d like to obviously carry one with my usual content of recipes, advice and the odd review but I’d like to share with you all a bit more about our lives, how we manage Type 1 diabetes, Coeliac disease and food allergies, a bit about what we all get up to, and why ( for my own sanity) I think I’m going to start a bullet journal. Well try to anyway.

So there we go, thank you for sticking with me- now let’s see what 2019 has to offer.

Over and out for now xx

My Favourite Christmas Products ( So Far)

Yes, yes, yes I know it’s only October, but I will not be apologising for the fact that I LOVE Christmas. I really do, and since having mini me I has become even more magical, but I can be a bit of a challenge for those of us with food allergies and intolerances, so I thought I’d share with you lovely lot my favourite products so far- gone on confess it you’ve bought some things to??

This year ( so far) I’ve been really excited by this panettone (£3) from Tesco. I can here coeliacs everywhere rejoice. I’ve tried it- for the sake of my followers, and it doesn’t disappoint, it really is lovely. My only downside is it’s quite small for the price, but hey it’s Christmas. Sainsbury’s are also doing a larger panettone for around £14 but I’ve yet to locate and try one. I’ll keep you posted.

Also from Tesco, and another gluten free find is this Black Forest wreath. At £5 it looks great and will feed a whole lot of guests with no effort. Sadly it does carry a nut warning though ( boo) so will probably not be on my Christmas table

My one last exciting find in Tesco is their Christmas pudding, mainly because it covers so many free from categories including nut and dairy free. As to what it tastes like, in all honesty I don’t know, it’s firmly on my to try list.

My other exciting find is this pretty dairy free chocolate box from M&S although at £8 it’s expensive. It also carries a nut warning despite Kinnerton making the chocolate- don’t worry we are keeping on at them to change it. However it would make a great gift or after dinner treat.

Other things to look out for is the gluten free and vegan mince pie and Christmas cake from Costa, and well as a very cute dairy free chocolate penguin from Asda.

Fear not I’ll update this post when I find things.

Nb- this is not a sponsored post. Just my honest opinion.

Blackberry Smoothie- Dairy and Gluten Free

I know we are in the throws of a heat wave here in the UK, but I couldn’t help noticing that the wild black berries are starting to ripen.

Well it would be rude not to combine these delicious berries with some ice and blend into a smoothie for a refreshing, cooling drink ( or breakfast n my case) wouldn’t it?

Also I LOVE the colour that blackberries produce so always use it a lot at this time of year. This little lovely is also gluten, dairy and nut free as well- hooray

Ingredients

  • Serves 1
  • 100g blackberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1-2 tbs of gluten free oats
  • 1tbs of chia seeds ( optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Good squirt of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
  • 250 MLS of milk of choice ( I used coconut).
  • A few ice cubes
  • Put everything into your blender/ nutribullet and whizz is all up.
  • Serve up and enjoy straight away.
  • Right back to enjoying the beautiful sun, with a refreshing drink in hand. I’ll be back this week with a review and hopefully a new recipe for you all to try.
  • We’ve done it….

    It’s over, we got there. What am I banging on about I hear you shout? Mini me has completed her first year in school. Listening to the waves coming in, on our well deserved break, it has got me reminiscing over the past year.

    A whole year done, which millions of other children across the country have also completed, but for those with allergies, illnesses or difficulties it’s a little bit more relief.

    It’s not all been plain sailing. L has seemingly grown into a dairy allergy and we are avoiding gluten due to ongoing problems with her tummy. She also has been in and out of doctors appointments due to severe hay fever ( I’ve never seen facial swelling quite so bad in someone before) and has had a nasty reaction to a sting- epi pens at the ready. But, and here’s the huge BUT….

    This amazing little girl has taken it all in her stride, had a great ( mostly) year and a glowing report to boot. We couldn’t be prouder.

    If your little one is starting school for the first time this September then the advice I’d would give to all you is this

    1. Be prepared, have a care plan in place and make sure the school understand it and you are happy with it. We have a meds box including epi pens, antihistamine and care plan which is kept in the building during term times.

    2. Ensure staff have had training in anaphylaxis and epi pen administration. This is the same of inhalers or other medications needed. Cross contamination risks are also important to go over.

    3. We have a box of safe treats kept at school.

    4. At the start of term we sent a letter out explaining L’s allergies and why she couldn’t eat certain foods. Just asking to be mindful of washing hands, brushing teeth before school if eating nut products. This helped a lot.

    5. Try not to worry- it’s hard I know but persevere it does get easier

    6. Talk about your concerns- there’s always someone who can help.

    There we are, no go have a great summer holiday and let’s be grabbing year one by the horns hey?

    Summer Berries Pavlova

    I know we were spoilt last week with the beautiful weather, but I’m sure it will be back again- maybe. I hope so anyway, on the strength of it all we toddled out and got a new BBQ. Obviously we then had to try it which leads on to one thing- alfresco eating.

    I always think that summer puddings should be easy to prepare, not to heavy and a perfect way to end those outdoor get togethers. Enter my meringue it’s soft and mallow centre combined with a crisp outer shell is perfect for pavlovas and Eton mess alike. The only negative is the lack of oven use for anything else whilst it’s cooking and cooling. I mean it’s not really a negative- you could just make more meringues.

    This pavlova is flavoured using the fabulous Sugar and Crumbs strawberry milkshake flavoured icing sugar. (This isn’t an ad- I just really love these, and they are free from nuts, dairy and gluten). It’s also pink, due to the request from the tiny human, i could not refuse.

    Ingredients

    • 4 egg whites
    • 180g caster sugar
    • 50g icing sugar ( mine was flavoured)
    • 1tsp corn flour
    • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • Gel food colouring if needed

    Method

    • Heat your oven to 120°c
    • In your mixer use the balloon whisk and whist the whites until they start to form soft peaks.
    • Gradually add the caster sugar 1 spoon at a time whilst the mixer is on a medium speed. Do not over beat
    • Sift in the icing sugar and cornflour and fold into you egg whites gently.
    • Add the food colouring and vinegar for a final beat with the mixer. If it’s ready the mixture will not fall out of the upturned bowl.
    • You can pipe the meringue into rounds or make one large pavlova it’s up to you.

    Now with the baking I find ovens are temperamental things. My new one is definitely hotter than my previous one. I put the meringue in at 120° and bake for about an hour ( it was longer in the old over) after this time turn the cooker off and leave the meringue to completely cool in the oven.

    When cooled whip some cream and pile those berries high. Then enjoy your efforts sat outside ( dodging the bugs) at the BBQ.

    Peter Rabbit, Whats To Get Hopping Mad Over?

    Image taken from Sony

    So here’s a title I didn’t think I’d be writing, or a film I didn’t think I’d ever need to be thinking about, but you know it’s a funny old world we live in, so here goes…. nb the following may ( at times) contain adult language. I’m not sorry.

    It might have come to your attention this week that a certain scene in the new Peter Rabbit film involves targeting the “baddie” with his allergen ( blackberries) to induce an anaphylactic reaction, so those cute little bunnies can get their garden back. Oh and how the world has reacted, calls to boycott the film from angry and upset allergy parents and sufferers, and the comments from the keyboard worriers. The trolls and the fucking ignorant have been out in force and the comments have been vile. Good friends have been vilified for their upset over this scene and I’m not sure that people understand why? Well let me try and help you with this….

    Unless you deal with allergies you will never know ( or care probably) about them. I mean why would you if you are not affected by them? As a parent with a child who has a severe allergy, let me tell you it often takes up a lot of your thoughts, worries and time. Any parent has a duty to keep their child safe. This is not being a ” Precious Snowflake ‘ as some have commented this week, it is more than that. Food allergy bullying is very real. My tiny four year old has already had teasing due to her nut allergies. I had not prepared her for it. I didn’t think it would happen with children so young. So here’s my beef with that scene. It’s a film aimed at kids, they are easily influenced. It would only take one view to sow the seed in wrong person’s mind. That same child could well be the one little shit that will smear peanut butter across an allergic child or spike their food or ( like the rabbit) try and somehow get the allergen into that person.

    I hope you never have to take that trip in an ambulance with your child, whatever the reason.

    It.is.horrendous

    I’ve been there with my daughter, helpless as her breathing struggles, her face swells, her little body desperately rejecting the allergen, a shot of adrenaline does not instantly resolve the attack, sometimes it takes 2, sometimes it might not work and you are then faced with the possibility of losing a loved one.

    Allergies kill, the lack of education around allergies will also kill. According to Anaphylaxis UK admissions to hospital for food allergies has increased by 700% since 1990. That is one huge increase. FAACT state that a study in 2010 found 35% of children with food allergies were bullied and the vast majority of those were bullied by another child. It’s probably seen as a joke, or a dare or curiosity to see what will happen, whatever, if any allergy requires the use of an epi-pen to treat a reaction it isn’t a laughing matter, and should at least be portrayed factually correct if going to be in a film.

    In the scene the character administrators his epi-pen and then hey ho a minute later is off chasing rabbits again. This is NEVER the case in real life. I get the flow of the movie wouldn’t have been the same if McGregor was taken to hospital, but still it’s portraying that one shot is all you need. The amount of times I’ve had said to me -” It’s ok, she has her epi-pen” only high lights the lack of education and understanding there is around allergies. I’ve seen the scene, it’s stupid, and in my opinion not funny- my biggest moan is that it’s not correct either. I mean at least show the pen being used correctly ( 1/2 mark for the fact he does carry it though).

    I’m not calling for you to boycott this movie, go see it, or don’t I really couldn’t give a rats arse. What I would urge you to do is use to opportunity to educate your kids. Explain why it’s dangerous to tease or use an allergen to target a person, actually just use the opportunity to teach that bullying is wrong, and in whatever capacity.

    As for us we won’t be going to see the film, not because I’m being precious, it’s more to do with the fact mini me loathes Peter Rabbit in most capacities. I mean in her words “Well it’s not about a horse mummy, so it’s rubbish” and do you know what? I can’t say I blame her. This really is a far cry from the nostalgic tales that we all grew up with. Beatrix Potter’s lovable character has become an arse and I for one feel very disappointed with it.

    Pancake Day…. My Free From Way.

    Rejoice it’s pancake day, and may I say it’s always greeted with much gusto and enthusiasm. I’ll admit I’m rubbish at tossing a pancake, it gets stuck on, the cat, or the ceiling or in the pan, I opt for a spatula or let my husband do it. However I do make a pretty mean American pancake, or drop scone, or whatever the heck you want to call them.

    This year has seen an added challenge. Mini me is ( temporarily I’m hoping) having to avoid both gluten and dairy, as well as nuts. So can you make a delicious dairy free pancake? Oh yes you can- and here’s how I do it.

    Ingredients

    • 110g gf self raising Flour
    • 25g teff flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1-2tbs caster sugar or 1-2tsp maple syrup.
    • 1 egg
    • 140mls milk of choice ( I used rice milk for the dairy free version).
    • I added chocolate chips ( from Moo Free) but blueberries or just plain work well as well.

    Method

    Mix all the ingredients together to form a batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    I use a Tefel pancake pan with no oil. Pour some batter in, when it starts to show air bubbles it’s time to flip and cook the other side.

    There you have it, super easy and great for pancake day.

    Mini Donuts Gluten, Nut and Dairy Free

    Yep you did indeed read the title correctly. Now gluten free donuts ( until recently) have been a bit like unicorns – not real, mythical and things you can only dream about.

    In fact there are 2 delicious producers that I recommend these are Borough 22 and wheat free bakery direct. Check them out if you can ( btw this is not an ad I just really like these).

    Any way I’ve digressed, for Christmas I got a mini donut maker. I mean I got a fab new bag as well, not just this electrical item, but I was impressed with it. This got me thinking will gluten and dairy free work? Only one way to find out…..

    By golly it did, want to know how I did it?? Have a read below.

    Ingredients

    • 125 g gluten free plain flour
    • 120g caster sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 egg
    • 120ml of milk of choice
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1tbs butter or dairy free butter melted.

    Method

    • Put dry ingredients into a bowl,
    • Make a well and pour in all your wet ingredients
    • Whisk until you have a smooth batter

    • Heat your donut maker
    • mine takes about 3-4 minutes to cook the little lovelies.
    • Either toss in cinnamon sugar, or ice however you fancy.

    There you go, so easy, and so tasty. Even my husband ( who hates donuts) said they were good.

    Until next time, have a great week.