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#Freefromfeast – What’s all the fuss about?…

DSC_0532A few weeks ago, Callum and I arranged to meet with Mel (from Le Coin de Mel), a fellow blogger and 3 of her 4 children. One of the many things we have in common is allergic children, and through the allergy and blogging worlds we’ve got to know each other well.

We also both support Allergy UK in their quest to improve the allergy situation in the UK.

Mel and I are going to be hosting competitions on our blogs to raise as much awareness as possible for Allergy UK, with you lovely lot benefiting with a lovely prize! Continue reading

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Not quite #silentsunday 24th May 2015 – Reacting to a virus!

  

Yesterday, we had a lovely family day! We watched Wycombe Wonderers fight tooth and nail to win their match at Wembley – they really deserved to win!!

We then went out for dinner to Pizza Express, a firm favourite of ours as they are so clued up when it comes to allergies!

Sadly, our night out was cut short as Callum started to have a big reaction to a virus. 

Yep, a virus!

It totally wiped him out in under 2hrs! 

He was in extreme pain, his stomach was giving him crippling cramps, his temperature shot up to 39.2, and he became sluggish and difficult to wake up.

The picture shows him slumped in my arms just 40 minutes after symptoms started.

I ended up leaving the family behind, while I got him checked over by the Out of Hours team at the local community hospital.

As always, they were truly fab with him!

Normally, in a bright, loud waiting room, a 3 yr old would be causing havoc!

Not this time!

Nope, Callum was alternating between falling into an exhausted uncomfortable sleep, waking up screaming ‘ow’ and then falling asleep again/passing out!

Bloody horrible to witness!

The consultant who checked him over diagnosed a nasty virus, which he was reacting to.

It was also causing his lymph glands to swell, which was the reason for his pain!

The two in his tummy had swelled to the size of lemons, the 2 in his groin had become the size of golf balls. And a similar thing was happening in his arm pits, under his chin, and behind his ears!

All of this because of a bloody virus!

The poor kid!

I can’t protect him from a virus like I can ingredients/ products! 

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!! 

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Fancy winning a new iPad?!…

We all struggle when trying to eat out with little ones, right?

Fancy bagging yourself a fab new iPad?!

Then hurry up, time is running out….. you have until 5pm today (20th May) to do something about it!!

The catch, well, there isn’t one!

All you need to do to be in with a chance is to help a fellow allergy company in their ‘pitch to rich’ campaign.

Ever heard of ‘Can I Eat There?’

Well, their concept is simple. They provide people with food allergies the information they need to make sensible choices about where to eat. Can I Eat There? have menus that you can filter by allergy, as well as customer reviews from other allergy sufferers. They also provide a forum platform for sharing experiences and advice.

So, go on, click on the link below, and help them to help you, whilst also being in with a chance of winning an iPad.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Vote – click http://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/pitch-to-rich/start-up/can-i-eat-there/and enter your details to vote
  2. Verify– you’ll get a verification email from Virgin Media Business (check your spam or junk folder if you don’t get it immediately) – click on the link to verify your vote otherwise it won’t count
  3. Emaila screen shot of your vote to offers@canieatthere.co.uktogether with your name and email address and you’ll go into a draw for an iPad Mini 16GB WiFi. Competition closes at 5pm Wednesday 20 May 2015. The winner will be emailed on Friday 22 May, and will be listed on

www.canieatthere.co.uk/

Can I Eat There VOOM

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‘Freefrom’ allergy safe Granola…

DSC_0768Trying to find a breakfast that is safe for more than one allergy is quite a challenge! And if you do find something suitable, more often than not, it is far more expensive than the ‘normal’ version.

As you all know, I like to take on a challenge and love to create safe ‘freefrom’ alternatives! I recently posted Callum’s favourite porridge recipe. It tastes great, but you can’t eat that every day, and need a good alternative!

Take granola as an example.

Granola usually costs a fortune to buy, and more often than not, contains at least one ingredient which isn’t allergy safe!

Well, here’s where I make your day!

Maybe…..!

It’s really easy to make at home!

No, scrap that, it’s ridiculously easy to make. So much so, young children could help you. Blindfolded. And it would still work well.

Once you master the base of the recipe, you can literally take it wherever you want to.

We’ve tried it on its own, mixed in raisins, coconut shavings, dried cranberries/ banana slices/ apple chunks, or even fresh fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or dairy-free choc chips.

Serve with dairy-free yoghurt, or fresh dairy-free milk.

Eat dry as a mid-morning snack.

It’s so incredibly versatile!

Give it a go and let us know how you get on, we’re sure it won’t disappoint!

You will need:

  • 600g rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsbp ground cinnamon (but you could use mixed spice/nutmeg etc)
  • 4-5 tbsp runny honey/ maple syrup/ golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil (or you could use vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 170c/310f. Place the oats, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, add the honey, oil and vanilla and stir well. (It should resemble wallpaper paste). Pour over the oats mixture, and stir well until combined.

Spread the mixture into a lightly oiled baking tray/ roasting tray, making sure it is an even and thin layer.

Place in the oven and bake for around 10-15 minutes, before removing, stirring, and then returning to the oven for a further 10 minutes or so until the oats turn a golden colour.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature, stirring from time to time. It will take around 30 minutes to cool fully.

At this point you can either leave it as it is, or add raisins/ fruit/ coconut flakes etc if using, making sure to stir well so everything is combined.

Make sure you store it in an air tight container, and will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

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‘Free from’ lightly spiced butternut squash, sweet potato and leek soup…

Lightly spiced butternut squash, sweet pot & leek soup

On a dreary, cold, wet, windy day like today (where has our summer gone?!), nothing compares to a warm, comforting, tasty soup, and this recipe doesn’t disappoint. It’s a firm favourite in our house, and our ‘go to’ recipe if any of us are feeling a little under the weather.

It’s packed full of the good stuff for little ones, and is so delicious, the whole family will love it!

And the best bit, it’s so quick and simple to make!

Go on, give it a try, I’m certain it will win you over too!

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash – peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • 2 sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed
  • 2 leeks – washed, and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 24.5fl oz (700ml) vegetable stock
  • Oatly cream if desired

Method:

In a large saucepan, add the butternut squash, sweet potato, leek and olive oil and fry over a gentle heat for around 8-10 minutes until softened, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

Add the garlic, and stir well.

Pour over the vegetable stock, stir to combine, place a lid on the saucepan and leave to simmer for around 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, blend until smooth and serve with a drizzle of Oatly cream and some crusty bread.*

Enjoy!

* for younger children, remove some of the liquid prior to blending to create a smooth purée

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Allergy UK – Annual Conference (Part 1)…

St Thomas HospitalThis weekend saw the Allergy UK annual conference take place. It was a chance for parents, carers and sufferers of allergies to come together, meet professionals in the allergy arena, and seek invaluable support and advice.

It didn’t disappoint!!

The day started with an introduction from Professor Peter Howarth, who explained the background of Allergy UK, and their dedication to supporting the 20 million people in the UK alone who suffer with at least one allergy.

He explained that allergies/ allergic reactions are now being reported to affect almost all areas of the body, and traditionally, more than one site of the body often reacting. Allergy UK are working hard to try to promote ongoing improved understanding.

The message given to the audience was that all feedback is welcomed so that Allergy UK can continue to improve the allergy situation in the UK, and tailor it according to need.

Lindsey McManus then took over, and provided details on the current and future projects that Allergy UK are working on.

It was wonderful to hear of the important work, often behind the scenes, that Allergy UK are doing with their partners, and the anticipation felt by the attendees was palpable.

Next year sees Allergy UK’s 25th anniversary, definitely something to be celebrated!!Allergic conditions co-exist

A fantastic presentation on ‘The Allergic March’ then followed with Dr Helen Brough, who totally captured the audience with her insight into the increase of allergic conditions, and the growing understanding of the relationship between eczema, food allergy and asthma.

It is understood that allergies affect more than 5% of children in the UK, and the rate of eczema is rising in line with this.

In addition, asthma is now one of the most common long term conditions.

Through increased understanding, it is known that food allergy exacerbates eczema, and eczema can cause food allergy. On top of this, food allergy, especially multiple food allergies is associated with an increased risk of asthma. And the more food allergies, the more likely the child will have asthma.

Dr Helen Brough then went on to explain about peanut allergy – which all attendees found extremely interesting following the recent fascinating LEAP study results that were released earlier on this year.

If children are exposed to high peanut dust content in the air at home, it is now known to have a high chance of a peanut allergy being present beyond 6-12 months of age. If a child has eczema as well, there is a much higher risk of a confirmed peanut allergy.

33-81% of children with moderate to severe eczema have immediate food allergies. It is understood that children with eczema may become allergic to food through the skin, and confirms the importance of maintaining good skin care and controlling the eczema successfully for these children.

Food allergy & asthmaAn important point to note, especially for the NHS, is that of the cohort of susceptible children used in a recent study, allergic rhinitis increases asthma severity risk, to the point where there is a potential 3-fold risk of frequent wheezing attacks, and a 10 fold risk of frequent GP visits.

Crucially, if correct treatment of rhinitis is provided, there is a lower risk of asthma related A&E attendances, and therefore less hospitalisation. In the details provided by Dr Helen Brough, 47% of patients did not have an asthma related event, which reduced hospitalisation by 61%!!

This completely reinforces my ongoing beliefs that HCP’s require more training and better understanding of the true implications that eczema, asthma and most importantly allergies bring. As well as looking at the full picture and gaining a true medical history to build an accurate picture of the patient in front of them.

It was a truly fascinating start to what turned out to be a highly informative day!