If you’re an allergy parent, I don’t need to tell you how stressful eating out can be. After nearly 6 years managing our eldest’s nut allergy, I feel I can quickly gauge how trustworthy a restaurant is. I’m happy to go with my gut and leave if a request for an allergy folder is met with a blank stare, slight panic and a scramble for a forgotten-about, tatty folder, usually handed over with a comment like “but of course we have nuts in the kitchen”.
So I was pleasantly surprised when we stopped at Worcester Park last week on the long drive down to Devon and the staff at the Orchard Cafe were totally switched on.
It’s been over 4 months since my last post. It’s hard when you haven’t blogged for a while to get back into the rhythm, but I’ll try!
First, a quick update.
As a family with multiple allergies, most meals involve several pots: some of them safe for one boy only, some for both. And me, checking and double checking before I dish up, and making sure I don’t mess up a meal by adding the wrong gravy, for example.
That’s why I love meals that all of us can eat together. Bonus points if they are tasty, healthy, quick and cost-effective. Tonight I got a full house in the form of sausage pasta.
Easter can be a pain for parents of allergic children. From Easter egg hunts sponsored by Cadbury’s and the like, to a magnitude of chocolate given with the best intentions, it can be stressful.
But I’m here to help all Easter bunnies who want to make this a special time for their little chicks. Here is a list of 89 non-food treats that should fit in egg-shaped containers – perfect for an Easter egg hunt.
I know, I know. Another Mother’s Day gift guide. This one is different though, because mine isn’t sponsored by anyone and I haven’t got any of these bits for free, and there are only five things in it (but that covers the essentials: something to make her feel special, something to make her feel blessed, something to make her laugh, booze and a card. Sorted!
Right, here we go.
Selfish Mother sweatshirt
We all love this brand. They make really cool sweatshirts and donate lots of money to charity. Spending £50 on a sweatshirt isn’t something the mum in your life does every day, so treat her with one of these (though you might struggle to choose). I have a grey Winging It one in the scoop neck style, and I love it. It’s so, so soft and comfy. I’d recommend sizing up if you’re unsure – I’m a 14 and got an XL, even though that’s recommended for a size 16. It fits nice and loose – perfect for a slouchy sweatshirt.I also have my eye on the baseball t-shirts, though I’m unsure about the white, and fancy a Mama scoop neck in red or navy, though I don’t think those colours exist in that design.
When C was diagnosed with a nut allergy, I cried for two days. I remember being particularly devastated that he would never have Reese’s peanut butter cups and that he’d probably never be able to go to Thailand (even though I haven’t even been myself).
One of the things that worried/saddened me the most was how we’d cope with birthday parties. Well, five years on we’ve attended loads of birthday parties, and we’ve just had our first couple of parties where I didn’t stay to help supervise.
For me, the key to success has been close cooperation and clear communication with host parents. That’s why I’ve put together this infographic below highlighting five questions you should ask a host parent when your allergic child is invited to a birthday party.
The clue’s in the title… HE DID IT! We’ve been told that after today’s successful challenge with oats, we should gradually introduce it to L’s diet.
Showing those allergies where to go.
As I mentioned in the last post, this challenge felt quite a lot different to his cod challenge a few months ago, as his blood tests actually showed he was allergic to oats (unlike cod, which came up negative).
On Monday, we have our first oral food challenge to something that we know for sure L is allergic to. It’s scary.
His previous challenge was to cod, when he had just turned a year old, and I felt well prepared. When he’d had cod the first time, he had a small hive under his eye after the first bite (which he didn’t enjoyed!). Subsequent blood tests showed he wasn’t allergic, but the consultant wanted him to have a hospital-based challenged. So I’d read all the paperwork, baked him a piece of cod in a foil parcel and off we went.
At first I thought today was a crap day. I work part-time so I can spend Thursday and Friday with L, do the school run etc. Which I treasure and I know I am so lucky to be able to have a flexible job.
But OH. MY. WORD.
He was up SO much last night, and ready for the day at 5:30. By the time it was school run, I was ready for gin. We went on a long walk, up massive hills and all sorts, so he could get fresh air and sleep. He did sleep, but woke up about 3 minutes from getting home, and then spent the rest of the day having temper tantrums, biting my nips, climbing on and attempting off all the furniture and other such mischief.
It was a challenge to say the least. Oh, and daddy’s gone to the football so bath and bed time was a solo mama mission.
But, dear reader, today was in fact a FANTASTIC day.
I was excited to read through the list of all the products that are up for the Free From Awards this year, but there were a few that definitely should have been there that were conspicuous by their absence.
As mentioned in my last post, there were quite a few of our staples on there, which made me wonder where the rest of our staples were. I asked one of them on Twitter, and it seems they didn’t enter – so it may well be that the others didn’t enter either?
Anyway, I thought I’d list some of our favourites here that, for one reason or another, didn’t make the Free From Awards 2017 list. It is such a pain to find products that are free from multiple allergens, that it’s always worth sharing when you find a good one.