Shop Local- My Top 5 Local finds

Hello to you all, a bit of a different spin for my blogmas day 2 post.

I thought today I’d share with you my top five Local food and drink delights that are close to my home town of Stratford upon Avon. When I can I do try to support local businesses, I know they can cost a few more pennies ( sometimes) but the quality is often tons better and you are helping such things like a family business to make a living- every one’s a winner.

So who makes my top 5 ( in no particular order)?

1. Monsoon EstatesA family run business fronted by Anne and Chris who roast and sell the BEST coffee. This is an actual fact. My personal favourites are Papa New Guinea Enorga and the Monsoon Malabar. Both dark roasts with such smooth flavours that work well in lattes and cappuccinos and espresso shot as well. I really recommend you try a flavour.

2. Wilde Nuts Located in the heart of Stratford this company sells nuts, raw granolas and trial mixes and some gorgeous vegan fudge. All gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. ( I obviously have a stash at work, well away from mini me).

3. Paxston & whitefield – Cheese, cheese and more cheese. I know not strictly an independent as they were founded in London and have about 4-5 shops, but one of those is in the town, and has been for as long as I can remember. They also stock locally made cheeses. All are delicious- The Stilton and Shropshire Blue being my top picks. This is a must for my Christmas cheese board.

4. Weston On Avon Farm shop. This really is a hidden gem. All our veg that we don’t grow ourselves comes from here. A family farm selling out of a converted garage. Often the produce is picked fresh from the field. You can guess where my winter vegetables are coming from.

5. Shakespeare Distillery Another local business, the creators of the Stratford Gin and about 4 miles away from my home. G&T is one of my favourite tipples, and this is one of my Christmas drink staples.

So there you have my round up of my top 5 Local food and drink suppliers. Have you tried any of these products? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. All views are my own.


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. 

My November Favourites 

Happy 1st of December, excited yet? Yes I am to, also very selfishly I cannot wait to open my advent calendar ( M&S beauty one in case you were wondering). I love Christmas so I’ve decided ( foolishly probably) to do Blogmas as well. You can expect recipes, ideas, reviews and a giveaway to. 


I digress this is about November, or my favourite finds anyway. 

First up Aldi, or their new free from section anyway.  Christmas wise they have mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes all gluten free. The free from range in my local store is growing, and includes Newburn BakeHouse and Nairns. The prices are amazing  £1.29 for flour ( although I’ve not tried it yet) seems a great buy. The downside is that not all stores have the range yet, as some of my followers have sadly told me. Fingers crossed it will continue to be rolled out. 

 Next up is a new company Angels and Cookies they offer allergy friendly cookie dough free from the top 14 allergens, and what’s more they are delicious so if you fancy a treat for Christmas Eve grab some and get baking. 

Next up is Moma Bircher muesli. I found via Ocado but they sell direct to. It’s great add your juice and yoghurt leave for minimum of 5-10 minutes and eat. No added sugar either. My only down side is it has a may  contain with nuts but in fairness I keep mine at work so not a problem. 

A few more things to add, Sainsburys have both gluten free, dairy free and nut free Christmas puddings and cake ( I’ll add a picture when I get them) and keep an eye open at M&S their party food is coming in and a lot is gluten free. My personal favourites are the mini chicken Kiev and Asian belly pork. 

That’s it from me today, I’m back to the hell of trying to find a Hatchimal and de icing the car. See you tomorrow. 

Review- Silly Yak Pastry

Yes you have read the title correctly. Silly yak (coeliac get it?) is a brand of fresh, ready to roll pastry.  The lovely folk of the company offered me some to have a trial with, so I said yes to see what I could come up with.   Before we even start I love the packaging, it has a yak on the box, what more could you want? 

  So my first idea was an easy, cheats gluten free Danish pastry. The pastry is a puff pastry so I thought is would work well. I cut out 10×10 cm squares, put 2 blobs of custard and 2 apricot halves, then folded operate corners in, egg washed and cooked for roughly 10-15 minutes at 180. 

  I was impressed, you don’t get as big a rise as traditional puff pastry- you won’t there’s no gluten. But you do get a lovely light pastry with a good crisp to it.  The taste is lovely, ( well very moreish) and worked well as a sweet pastry. You could add some sugar- I didn’t but I don’t personally think it altered the taste being plain at all. 


For my savoury attempt I tried a quiche, blind baking the case first, it was all A ok, no rise as such because of the weight of the baking beans, and no holes that the filling could escape through either. Another point to make is that this pastry rolls and handles well. You will need a well floured surface and rolling pin, as its a little sticky at first. I should also add that it was a great tasting quiche with no soggy bottom in sight- always a bonus. 

  You can purchase Silly Yak from Tesco, for £1.75 a pack. I also like this point, in a market where free from can be very expensive, this is reasonable. So will I be using Silly Yak again? Yes I will, it’s a great versatile product that tastes lovely. 

Have you tried Silly Yak? What goodies did you make with it? 

Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review, all opinions are my own. 

My Guide To A Nut Free, Gluten Free Christmas..Part 1

So it’s that time of year again, and Christmas is fast approaching. In preparation for the big guys’ visit, I’m doing a guide for allergy sufferers and those who have invited anybody with allergies and are starting to panic- please don’t it will all be fine. 

First things first Advent Calendars 

No Christmas would be complete without one of these especially for children, this got me thinking, what’s out there, nut free so my little one isn’t left out? The best ones I think are 

Nut Free Chocolate People these little goodies are handmade individual chocolates to go in an advent calendar (although they sell that as well). They also sell boxed chocolates but all are nut and gluten free. 
Kinnerton have a great selection, including frozen (one even lights up), Peppa Pig and Marvel comic characters so a good selection for boys and girls.  

If you are after a more traditional advent calendar, then M&S do a nativity themed calendar which is gluten free, but may contain nuts. 

Chocolate Coins

Again the Nut free Chocolate People do coins so worth a look on their website. 

These from John Lewis are also stated as Nut Free and a bargin at £1.00. 


The Best Of The Rest 

These chocolate lollies from Waitrose are both nut and gluten free  


Again from Kinnerton there is this cute Santa figure 

Moo Free offer a great selection of gluten,Dairy and vegan products including advent calendars and selection boxes, however these aren’t suitable for people with nut allergies. 

For things like mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes all the supermarkets are offering these options, and whilst all are gluten free, they are lacking in nut free options, the “May contain” being on all boxes. I can feel myself getting itchy teeth just typing this as these warnings frustrate me…..but I digress and for now will shove my soap box to the side. All is not lost however,  Matthew Walker offer both a gluten free pudding (it’s delicious) they also do a nut free one, so no one is left out. 

So there you have it, my guide to a gluten free, nut free Christmas in terms of treats. I will be following up with the supermarkets’ selections of offerings in the next couple of weeks, and some lovely festive recipes for you all to try. 

If you have found any other little gems for the festive period, let me know in the comments below.