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?

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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.

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.

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

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.