What a week…..

Hello to you all. As the title says what a week we are having.  To start it all off, my mum had a freak accident which resulted in emergency surgery and now what appears to be a fairly long recovery period.  After a few days in hospital, she is now home and predicting we’ll have a lovely summer as she’ll be in a sling for a while. 

I also think I  couldn’t write a post and not mention the awful events in Manchester last week.  A truly horrific attack has left many in shock and sadness ( me included). I think in times like this you actually need to look for the kind acts of people, that seem to cement everything together. The emergency services were amazing, as to the brave actions of the two homeless men near the arena that went in to help.  Closer to home a little girl has been selling her toys to raise money for the Manchester victims.  This moved me so much, believe me there are good people out there. 

On a happier note, everything is growing well in the gardens but I have been faced with this, this is my speckled lady, and she has been read the riot act. I guess I’ll ( sort of) forgive her, as slugs are her treat of choice.

 Also the elderflowers are starting to blossom, and I really want to try to make elderflower champagne, my first attempt ended in a broken light bulb where the bottle cork exploded. 

 So where does that leave me? Well there just might be a give away over on my Facebook and Twitter pages this week to celebrate National BBQ Week ( yep it’s a thing). And some new recipes and a review should be up as well.  
Here’s to a great week everyone. 

Coeliac Awareness Week 2017

Well here we are again 8th-14th May is #CoeliacAwarenessWeek and this year Coeliac UK are asking you to join the Gluten Freevolution. But what does that mean??  

 
Well aside from the usual scramble of companies launching new products and special offers in the free from field, the message is to help improve gluten free choices where ever you are.  According to Coeliac UK 1 in every 100 people could have coeliac disease ( I’m one of them), and many more are choosing to incorporate gluten free into their diets and lifestyle. Which ever way you look at it, free from is a growing market. 

As a coeliac, higher demand means more products on shelves, which is great.  I support this campaign, I personally feel eating out is still my problem area, staff in restaurants don’t fully understand allergies and if I’m to be glutened this is the week spot. Don’t get me wrong some places are great ( Pizza Hut springs to mind) but the issues of cross contamination and lack of staff training and understanding are usually the issues.

As with the growing free from market, there too is a huge opening in the hospitality sector, they could attract ( and keep) new customers if a little more understanding and options were given to those with coeliac disease, and other food allergies for that matter. 

So let’s all get behind the campaign, no more are you to feel like you are being fussy. Let’s shout it from the roof tops – more allergy friendly establishments= happy customers all round. 

How Does Your Garden Grow? 

At the beginning of 2017 I set myself some goals. Amongst other things expanding my vegetable plot/ gardening skills were one of those goals. So how am I getting on I can hear you asking? 

I’ve fended off comments from friends and family that I won’t do it. For the record I’m now called Percy ( Thrower) my comeback is I’m  too young to remember him- ha so there. I’m still shoe and fashion obsessed but I’ve added pretty wellies into the mix, and instead of heat magazine ( cause I no longer care about what Posh Spice is up to) I’ve been known to but Grow Your Own or Kitchen Garden magazines.  Anyway I’ve digressed a tiny bit. 

Well the chickens arrived in 2013 and the numbers have grown ever since ( we are up to 13 and due to get some more soon). They are free range which means I don’t have a slug or snail problem but I’m often faced with this. Nutella ( named by my daughter) has a bare patch, she is the lowest in the pecking order, we built her a new home next to the others, she’s much happier, and her feathers are really growing back, which is more than can be said for my lettuce which they got into and ate……

  
This actually shows phase 2 of our vegetable growing. It’s taken 2 yrs to get to this point as this area was so so over grown when we moved in. The soil is clay ( get me ) and we are working hard to improve the quality and texture of the ground. My compost bin is starting to work well, and I believe that mushroom compost over the autumn/ winter months may help. I’m still facing an ongoing weed problem, which I know I could use weed killer for, but we are trying to do without. 

So my growing aspirations this year are

  • Potatoes
  • Broad beans and Runner Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Garlics ( growing very well if I do say so myself) 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Chard
  • Cabbage
  • Radish 
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Courgettes

It looks like nothing, but im proud of this cabbage

Fruit wise we have: 

  • Apple trees
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants 
  • Blackberries ( brambles) 
  • Raspberries 

 

My Favourite Apple Tree

 
I cannot wait for the efforts of my labour to start paying off, I have so many recipies that I want to create with the home grown produce. You see what I’ve done there? In true free from foodie style, the home grown things are free from pesticides etc, and the recipes will be gluten, nut, dairy free as per usual. I thought you guys might like to see other aspects of my life ( possibly?) .

So I’m hoping to incororate regular posts of how I’m getting on, with my mini side kick obviously. Gardening with a three yr old does add another great dimension to the mix, but hey that’s all part of the fun of it. 

Any grow your own tips? Or pictures? Let me know in the comments below. 

  

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. 

Happy International Women’s Day. 

  
So today marks International  Women’s Day with the theme Be Bold For Change. I like this, I like it a lot. The message talks sense, sometimes we need that little bit of courage to make a change, no matter how big or small it is. 

  It got me thinking what have I done to make those changes. And I thought you- my readers might like to get to know “Me” a little bit more. Well I gave up a good job in retail ( store manager of a large shoe shop- and I love shoes) to do a 5 year degree in osteopathy, that was hard but it enabled me to achieve my dream of helping people and starting my own business. 

In 2013 mini me came into the world, and she is wonderful, and feisty and independent which are qualities that I’d hate for her to lose, but if I’m honest can be a pain in the bum as a 3 year old.  However for me personally, as soon as she was born we realised the responsibility we had to give her a good childhood and help her become the person she will become in adult hood- never let any one say it’s easy, it’s the hardest, most rewarding thing I’m doing at the moment. 

  So it brings me on to this year, my blog will be 2. I was told the other day by some followers how I’ve helped and inspired them- little me.  In my head I’m no one and nothing special, I had a normal upbringing, and I’d like to say I’m a fairly well adjusted individual so  I’m humbled that what I’m writing on my tiny space on the Internet can be helping someone who is on or starting a similar journey to us so thank you to you all. 

  I think that for me this year my bold thing is to start thinking more of myself.  I’ll be kicking the crappy guilt fairy out of my head ( warning to parents she sticks her ore in a fair bit if you let her) and thinking more along the “I can and I will” approach. 

Back to International Women’s Day, I think we all need to have dreams, and ideas and realise we all have the potential to make them happen. Come on ladies we’ve got this. 

Happy New Year

Well hopefully you have woken up fresh as a daisy on this New Year’s Day, if not ease yourself in gently and I hope the hangover subsides quickly. 

  
I’d just like to take the time to wish you all a Happy New Year.  I’d like to thank all my lovely followers for their support and positive words over the last year, I’m very humbled.  This little blog is growing I’m popularity and it fills me with joy that it might be helping others in similar situations as ourselves. 

This year little one will start school ( something I’m dreading if I’m honest – from an allergy perspective anyway) so expect some posts on how we get on. In fairness I’m sure mini me will love it, she seems to take everything in her stride. 

In other news there is the Allergy Blog Awards ceremony in February which we are looking forward to. You never know we may ever win an award ( there’s a sentence I never thought I’d be typing).  All exciting I’ll keep you posted on how my posh frock hunting is going. 

There will be more recipes posted this year to, and as part of resolution I’m hoping to dedicate a bit more time to creating more ideas and dishes to share with you all.  

So there you have it, a quick post I know but I wish you all the best for 2017, I hope it brings you all lots of laughs, love and success. X 

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. 

I’ve been nominated ….. 

  
For an Allergy blog award.  I for one am over the moon.  I started this little blog just over 18 months ago to write my thoughts, recipes and share advice for other parents or people with food allerges. I cannot believe how it has taken off. 

I never expected people to read it, let alone start following me…. But I’m humbled at how my followers have grown and how wonderful the free from community is. I’ve met some really fantastic people along the way. It’s lovely to get messages from people saying I’ve helped them, and I’ve worked with some great companies in the last 12 months as well. It’s extremely exciting. 

In my private life I married my best friend ( after 15 years together ) in October. We had a fantastic day, and will remember it for years to come. Mini me was a flower girl and loved her special job at mummy and daddy’s wedding ( she even managed to stay fairly clean). 

If you want to vote for me then you can follow the link HERE 

I’ve been nominated in 2 categories 

  •   Allergy Blog of the year 
  • Most Informative 

Right time to fly, more posts to plan and write but thank you again, you bunch of lovely, lovely people. X 

Thought of the day- Mini Break Ideas. 

It’s that time of day, the tribe are asleep, I’m awake and I start thinking (procrastinating some may say). I mean today that’s a little white lie, my mind’s wondered due to bridesmaid dress searching – and I’ve still not found the right dress for my besties, and all shades of pink have now blurred into one. I need a break…..

  
This sparked my next thought, we still haven’t booked a honeymoon and I found myself thinking about what would be the ideal getaway for us, and I include mini me, she is a huge part of us and I couldn’t leave her behind. She’d climb into my suitcase anyway, my efforts would be fruitless. We get married on October 23rd in case you were wondering. 

We’ve been together for 15 years and are fortunate to have traveled to some fabulous places. Pre child I’d have said are perfect getaway would have been (the possible clique ) of a Caribbean all inclusive, but we’ve done the piña coladas on the beach, and the drunken Ibiza antics ( less said about that the better) and now we think something like exploring and family adventure would be more our thing. 

What’s more I cannot forget how exciting it will be discovering new places and things with Lily-Rose, the eyes widen, the smile beams and my heart melts every time she discovers something new. 

  
Considering we are getting married in the autumn, i can’t help feeling a UK based mini break would be perfect. I’m ashamed to say there are so many places in the UK I’ve not seen. I love the autumnal colours, the sense that change is own the way, my ever longing hope we will see snow in the forthcoming winter ( yes I know I’m a big kid at heart). The Lake District or Peak District spring to mind as a possible contender. 

We live in the country, my daughter is a true country bumpkin, and somewhere with walks, horses ( big favourite at the moment) and a cosy log fire would be amazing. Not forgetting that since we live in the Midlands, somewhere costal is always my first choice. I originiate from Cornwall, ( I’m biased I guess when I say it’s my favourite place to go) and Hef from North Wales so the sea and beach are things we don’t see too often, but gets squeals of delight from all of us when we do. I always seem to find myself suggesting the south west, I guess it’s the home bird in me. That said the Isles of Scilliy is somewhere we have not explored, but is on the list. In my head there would be fantastic rock pools to delve in, plus the enevitable funny photo of Hef ( and it will be Hef) getting pinched by a crab, costal walks and beautiful scenery to see. Plus it’s a small plane trip which will also be mini me’s first experience. 

I’m not stupid either, other things we look for is a swimming pool or indoor entertainment if the weather takes a turn.  Those of you with children know 1 hr of a bored child is like a week in real time. 

Ironic as it is, whilst I’m writing this post, a few days without iPads and social media and endless calls would be bliss. Proper family time for us all to re connect is something that can be overlooked, it’s easy to get into routine, but something I think is so so important, time out from our busy schedules would be lovely. 

I know what your all thinking. I cannot not mention food, it’s a foodie blog after all.  Well sea food is a winner, and one thing none of us are allergic to. Usually we go for self catering due to multiple allergies, but my ideal is always to find an understanding hotel that is willing to cater to our needs. They do exsist, you just need to do your homework. Mind you I’m always prepared and never let things like this hold us back or stop us from visiting places.

  
So there you have it our perfect getaway sun (maybe), sea ( definitely) and adventure and memories (always).
This post is in part written for Joules Explorers blogging competition. Why don’t you have a go yourself? 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/55856449@N04/28991804815″>Horse in the Mist</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;