Back To School…..

So it’s looming, Augtember is nearly over and that first week of school is starting to wave at me- do you know what? I hate it.

I mean hands up all of you who have a heart attack at the cost of the uniform- yep me to. I’m still trying to dissuade mini me from the god awful Lilli Kelli numbers she has her eye on, in swap for the slightly less bank balance haemorrhaging Clarks pair. Good luck with that one I hear you all cry.

I also despise the morning rush, and routine, I have crippling ( slight exaggeration) insomnia so getting up after about 3 hrs sleep is never fun.. Mostly though is that we have fun over the summer, and getting back to the grind stone is difficult for us all. There’s some parents who count down the days to school going back- I’m not one of them, mind you I’ve only got the 1 munchkin, if I had more I might think differently.

Good luck to all you reception Parents, have your tissues ready- you’ll need them. Mine skipped in, didn’t look back and gave it her all, I was proud but a mess obviously. Have that glass of wine in the evening, you deserve it.

Good luck if it’s the first time entering the playground as well. My goodness that was/is a minefield. Not only do the children have to navigate their way through new friendships and meeting- so do you, but with the parents. To those of you who don’t know anyone, seize the moment and say hello. Most people are great, ignore the scurry of gossip ( there WILL be some) and make your own judgement of people.

To the allergy parents, you’ve got this to. I won’t lie reception was the worst for me, I mean I’m always by my phone but that first year I checked it all the time. But we made it with no major incidents….How?? Good planning. My advice is get your child’s care plan in place and get the school staff familiar with it. I went in on the teacher training day to explain to the staff the signs and symptoms to look out for if L is having a reaction.

She has a medical box at school ( Epi pens, antihistamines, eye spray) she also has a safe treat box as well, just so the teachers can use treat if needed ( birthdays etc) and no one is excluded. It works well.

L has grown into a few more Allergies since starting, she’s now having to avoid gluten, dairy and latex is looking more likely. I get a lot of phone calls, and early pick ups, we now flexi-school her to help but it works, and the staff are managing her allergies. Just remember communication it key.

So there you have it, my advice to you all.

Enjoy it, it’s a stage in their development, they are growing up, they are learning. Embrace it, build each other up.

You’ve all got this

Welcome to the school run years……..

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It’s Coeliac Awareness Week

Yes it’s that time of the year again and Coeliac awareness week is up on us once again. It is running from 13th- 19th May. This year it is focusing on diagnosis.

Coeliac UK is the national charity that helps to raise awareness of this autoimmune condition. It is a great place to start for those who are newly diagnosed, and for those of you who think you might have Coeliac disease.

I thought at this point I would tell you about my story to diagnosis. I was roughly fifteen when I started getting symptoms that were problematic, such as bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers and tiredness. Initially after a few GP visits I was told IBS was the most likely cause- due to exam stress from my GCSEs that were the big exams that I was starting to study for- this didn’t seem right to me as I’m not a stressed person, and certainly wasn’t worried about exams etc. Nevertheless I took the advice, changed diet and lifestyle and tried the prescription of anti- spasmodic medicines. Guess what- it didn’t really work, and back to the doctor I trundled.

IBS was still being branded about, until I happened to mention that both my Nan and aunt had Coeliac disease. I was then sent off for a blood test. Sure enough these came back as positive. I was expecting to be sent for a biopsy but after being referred to the hospital, a further blood test and positive genetic test confirmed the diagnosis of Coeliac disease.

I felt relieved and overwhelmed straight after diagnosis, but after my first dietitian appointment, and armed with lots of information of what I could and couldn’t eat I ventured into the supermarket to embark the first chore of Coeliac disease ( and allergies) – label reading.

I won’t lie you will spend A LOT of time label reading, the only thing I can say is that over the years the “Free From” aisles have expanded hugely so the choice offered is getting better and better. You still need to be careful of the dreaded “may contain” warnings ignore them and you can get caught out. – Walkers crisps were my enemy the one day in case your were wondering.

What I can say is that within a week of switching to a gluten free diet I felt so much better. It really is that dramatic. My only side effect of my Coeliac disease is that I’m also one of the 1 in 10,000 that also suffers from Dermatitis Herpetiformis, an intensely ( and I mean intensely) itchy skin condition linked to Coeliac disease.

It is the absolute worst, my first flare up was at university after a pasta mix-up. 2 days later I felt unwell and itchy, by day 4 the rash had appeared, if I could have torn my skin off I seriously would have. It is awful. My GP was flummoxed at first, as he hadn’t seen many cases of it. I was sent for a skin biopsy and the results confirmed it.

Thankfully I don’t get too many flare ups, but nevertheless when I do I tend to go to ground. The appearance of the rash and how rotten I feel puts pay to wanting to go out.

BUT it’s not bad at all having Coeliac- I could have a lot worse. I’ve made some great friends over the years. My top tip is to start at Coeliac UK for advice, and then the Coeliac and allergy community on Twitter and Facebook is brilliant. It’s live a great, big friendly free from hive- there’s always someone that can help answer your questions.

I hope this has helped some of you- Just remember, although it’s daunting being newly diagnosed, you are never alone.

My Free From Guide To Stratford upon Avon

My lovely hometown, which admittedly is most famous for William Shakespeare and The RSC Theatre, is also packed with eateries and tea rooms. Some of them are absolutely fantastic at catering for dietary needs, so I thought I’d share my top places to go.

My first place is Bensons Restaurant is Henley street ( almost opposite Shakespeare’s Birthplace). Their gluten free options really are fantastic, you can get things like a breakfast with bottomless tea for around £5 all gluten free, right through to lunches and afternoon teas. They also have a separate dairy free menu, and really do understand the cross contamination risks and take many precautions ( hooray I shout).

Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar in Sheep Street is my next choice, and no not because of the wine element ( although they do have a great choice) but because they have really good gluten free options. The dinners or pre- theatre menus are delicious, AND they can manage to provide gluten free sausages on their breakfasts, plus is a really quirky and luxuriously decorated restaurant that is worth a visit when you are next in the vicinity.

if you have a sweet tooth you’d be mad to miss Hoorays gelato parlour. They have gluten free waffle cones, plenty of gluten, dairy and a few nut free options and some delicious vegan offerings that are worth a visit on a hot day.

In Bridge Street there is Huffkins Bakery, they do a mean peanut butter brownie that is gluten free ( and eaten well out of the way of mini me)

So here’s my top places for starters, I will be updating the post when I find other free from dining delights.

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

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?

Happy New Year

Well hello 2018. Whilst I’m not one for gushing posts I’d love to take the opportunity to wish all my friends, family, bloggers and followers a very Happy New Year.

I’m humbled to think my follower numbers and view are increasing, something I hope continues throughout the new year. We now have dairy free to contend with, so you and expect more recipes and reviews etc to incorporate this. As always if I can offer any advice regarding allergies and diet then feel free to send me a message. You are never alone, there’s always someone who will listen.

2017 proved challenging for us in some places. Health wise family members have suffered. Mini me started school- this is a milestone for all parents, but navigating food allergies in the mix as well requires lots of planning. We now flexi- school ( expect more posts on this) this means part home education and part school. I’ll add allergies were not the reason for this decision, and so far it’s proving to be the right choice. We are looking forward to our new challenges in 2018 and ready to face it full on.

All that’s left to say is I hope the hangovers recover soon, and bring it on 2018, we are ready for you.

Allergy Awareness Week 

This week is Allergy Awareness week, which focuses on eczema. Munchkin does have eczema but thankfully fairly mildly. Her triggers are her allergens ( so contact or consuming nut products) and certain cosmetics and washing powders can make her symptoms worse. 

Whilst I’m not going to focus too much on eczema in this post, I thought it would be a benefit to offer my top tips and advice in regards to allergies. 

Eating Out/ Days out

  • Be prepared, I always call a restaurant ahead and ask / inform the establishment about our coeliac and nut allergy requirements. 
  • Ask to see the allergy information and policies
  • Don’t assume that because you’ve eaten the same meal more than once it’s still ok, restaurants change ingredients and suppliers all the time. 
  • You are not being fussy and do not let that thought stop you from asking the relavent questions. 
  • I always have safe back ups for days out etc so no one goes without.
  • Safe swaps in your bag work well for party bags etc as well. 
  • Carry all relevant medication with you. If you have epi pens carry 2 the first one doesn’t always work. 
  • Arm yourself with wipes to clean table surfaces before sitting down, also I find kids just attract dirt so baby wipes are a must anyway. 

General Advice

  • If you are struggling with anything talk to someone, you are not alone ( Twitter allergy community is great) there is always someone who can help. 
  • Your allergies are part of you- but don’t let them define you. 
  • Kick the crappy guilt fairy out of your head- she will consume you if you let her. My advice is swat her away hard, cuddle your child/ partner/ pet and tell yourself you are doing a great job, because you know what? You really are. 
  • Allergy UK is a very useful site 
  • Always #carryyourkit be it medicines, medical cards, epi pens etc. 

So some of my top tips for you. Do keep looking back, as I will be adding more as I remember them. 

Do you have any top tips? Let me know in the comments below.