Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wet, Wordless Wednesday Morning

I'm going to start a Wordless Wednesday blog post as Wednesday's are pretty manic at the Lupin house! 

Here's my first one depicting my morning! 

And it's not even 10 am yet.

I can see a circular pattern, that I think will repeat again!

I have had some exciting news :) but, will reveal in a post either tonight or tomorrow, depending upon how I get on with my assignment!

Lupin Girl x


Monday, 27 April 2015

Being a Parent to a Food Allergic Child

Yesterday I wrote about food allergies from an adult perspective, my perspective. I linked to Allergy UK, and they're using the #Livinginfear.

Today I'm going to write about being a parent of a child/children with food allergies to show you what it is like.

I want you to imagine you're a 9 year old girl, getting ready to go to a disco that you've been excited about all week.

You haven't eaten anything different to normal, but you feel a bit unwell.  You don't want to be told that you'd better not go to the disco, so you don't say anything.

Whilst at the disco you feel worse, you spend most of it in the bathroom, you get a drink, but can't swallow it properly because your throat feels funny, you get an ice-pole and that helps, but you still don't say anything to the adults at the disco because you don't want to get sent home and miss all of the fun.

Once home, you rush to the bathroom again, saying you don't feel well and your throat hurts.

I, being the mum of the said 9 year old, assume she's been shouting over the music and is just feeling unwell, as she suffers from stomach migraine, I intend to give her Calpol when she comes down, then I hear a shout, so I go up to see her.

I see a very pale looking L with dark rings under her eyes, obviously a poorly girl, who now says she is itchy.  This immediately makes me think 'reaction' and so I reach for the Piriton and give her a double dose.  Now the whole story comes out about how she started to feel unwell half way through eating her Snickers bar before going to the disco, and alarm bells ring. Peanuts! She's never had a problem with them before though.

Should I call for an ambulance? 

Am I over-reacting?

Apart from feeling itchy and saying her throat feels funny.  She's breathing fine, she's making sense and not feeling faint (I checked) I look in her mouth and her throat isn't swollen, but she's out of the bathroom and asking for a snack. 

What would you do?

I rang 111 and asked for advice.

They spoke to L and decided she could do with checking out at the hospital but that I could take her as she was coherent and laughing and joking with the man on the phone, but that if her condition changed at all either before we left, or on the way I was to call 999 immediately and wait for the ambulance.

She was fine, luckily and after a 3 1/2 hour wait I was aloud to take her home after the Dr checked that I was aware of secondary reactions. 

I didn't sleep that night, I couldn't, I kept having to check she was ok, that she was still breathing.

We had to wait 9 months for an appointment at the allergy clinic, I know a parent who has waited over 18 months for one!  During which time we were told not to allow her to have anything which said may contain nuts.  Quite a difficult job, especially when manufacturers put it on things like tins of baked beans!

L now, like me carries antihistamine and epipens, she has 2 in her bag, which goes wherever she does, and 2 at school. 

Her skin prick tests all came back clear, even the peanut one was only just classed as an allergy, and her blood tests all came back clear, but, because of how she reacted she has a diagnosed peanut allergy, we can allow may contain nuts, but not may contain peanuts, and if she wants to we can cautiously allow her to try other nuts.

Now imagine letting your child out to a party, it's bad enough if the party is at a restaurant, most of them are, thankfully, pretty good with allergy menus and some places don't use anything with peanuts in at all.  However it's more scary letting her go to a party at a house with a buffet.  The friends she has now all have very understanding parents, a few have children with allergies or intolerances themselves and have all been really good with her, checking everything before allowing her to eat, it is more difficult at large gatherings with buffets that are already out when you get there though, for me and L. 

Fast forward a few years to senior school. 

I have two children at senior school, and I don't know most of their friends parents well.  I am sure when I tell L's new friends parents about her allergy, they will all look out for her, and she will hopefully speak up for herself if she's not sure. 

However, once they're at seniors, they become more independent, they go into town and want milkshakes from those places that whizz up a chocolate bar with the milk.  Now currently I don't let her have a milkshake from there in case of cross contamination, I also avoid them.  If we want a milkshake, we head for McDonalds (peanut free, and very clear allergy advice.)  Put yourself in her position, your in a group of friends, possibly new friends, you don't want to look different to everyone, you don't want to be a pain by having to go somewhere else, or not have a drink.  Do you risk it?  You won't be silly and order a Reece's cup milkshake!  You'll play it safe and go for a Crunchie, or Skittles, something you know is safe.  The risk of cross contamination is there though.  Switch peanuts to bleach, would you want your children drinking one?  Scary to think about!

Fast forward a few more years and she's out partying and there's a boy she likes.  Everyone's been eating the nibbles, L's been careful with what she's eaten.  Then a slow dance comes on, he's not, yes, yes he is, he's asking her to dance, she's so happy, they kiss.  He's eaten a chicken satay skewer....

Or...the scenarios are endless.

Currently I don't think L's reaction is as bad as that, however the more reactions you have the worse they tend to get, so who knows how she will be in a few years time? There are children out there who are that bad now.  Whose parents are facing those dilemmas every day.  It's a tough and scary job being a parent to a child with food allergies.

Both L and R along with myself, have had mild reactions to unknown foods, I've kept food diaries, but can't pin point anything, it could be an additive, or a preservative.  I try to make most of our food, but it's not practical or economical all of the time, so living with food allergies is living with fear.  Fear that what you're about to eat is going to make you sick, or worse. 

Most of the time we're in control and that helps, you never know if you're going to react, 5 years ago I didn't give what we ate a second thought in relation to allergic reactions, now we have separate cupboards and I check everything.  If I know we're going to go out for a meal, I'll ring ahead and check there's food I can eat, (most places do peanut and wheat free meals) and pre-warn the chef.  However if it's been spur of the moment it is more worrying.

Tomorrow I will write about what anaphylaxis is, how and when to use an epipen as Allergy UK have said that 66% of people don't know how to use an adrenaline pen. 

Family Time and Garlic and Herb Roast Chicken

I love weekends. 

No early mornings, no rushing about here, there and everywhere, just chilling.

Saturday J and C were out doing boy stuff, so after a lazy morning I took B, L and R to town to change their library books, that bag does get heavy with 6/7 books for each of them in!  I don't mind though as it's got R reading more, he's found some books in which you choose your own destiny and depending upon what you decide to do at the end of each little section, depends upon the outcome of the story, he thinks they're brilliant and has read every night for about two weeks now, and because he knows that he has a good time reading those, he's started to explore some of the other books we have here which is great.

After the library we just did a little bit of mooching about, came home for lunch and popped to see my friend and her little family, see here to read all about that.

Sunday was lovely as we were all together again.

L had her first dance exam in modern.  I'm very proud of her as she only started dancing at the end of January and so she has progressed really well in such a short amount of time, she is very nervous about finding out her grade though, and I've no idea how long that normally takes?  She has a lesson tonight so I'm hoping they'll tell her when she'll find out, she might even find out tonight?  She said it went well, she didn't forget any of the dance moves, but did forget how to bow?  She also said that the mirrors had all been covered up so that you couldn't copy what anyone else was doing as they went in in groups of four, I'm sure she did just fine though, and she looked like she enjoyed it, which is all that matters really.  I think I was more nervous than she was as she had to have her hair in two French plaits twisted into a bun, L's hair is sooo long though that it's quite difficult to get it up, and once it's up to get it to stay there, lots of grips and gel spray needed! 

I think I did an ok job? 

It looked a little wonky to me so I hope they don't get marked down on hair presentation!

I was so on edge about getting her there on time, I planned to get there 10 minutes or so early, however, I'd read the time wrong on the board and we ended up being 1 1/4 hours early!  At least I'd got us there early and not late though, how bad would I have felt then!!  We ended up having to sit and wait in the car, and played rather a few games of Eye Spy!

I cooked an amazing garlic and herb roast chicken for our Sunday dinner, we haven't had roast chicken for ages, and all thoroughly enjoyed it.

It's really simple to make:  Mix some garlic and herb into some butter.

                                           Make sure your hands are clean, then separate the skin from the chicken with your hand, work your hand gently down in between the skin and chicken so that you create a pocket the size of the top of the chicken.

                                            Place the butter into this pocket and squeeze and massage it all over the chicken.

                                            Rub your hands over the top of the skin to remove any butter left on them, then sprinkle garlic powder and mixed herbs over the top.

                                            Roast as usual and serve with veg and garlic and herb roast potatoes.

After dinner B got all packed up ready to go and stay at my Mum and Dad's house for the night, as she's going to work with my Mum today.  Her school are having a 'Take your Daughter to work day' today, but because of the nature of J's job he wasn't allowed to take her in, I only work part-time so thought she would enjoy being at work with my Mum more.  I hope she's having a great time, I know she was really looking forward to it.

I hope you're having a great Monday,

Lupin Girl x

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Ambu Tree Marinade Review

I'm so excited!

A couple of weeks ago, whilst on Twitter, Priya from @AmbuTree messaged me to see if I would like to try their marinades, after a bit of chatting, I discovered that although the marinades contained soy beans, and were therefore unsuitable for me, children loved the Chinese Five Spice and the Mild Tandoori marinades and Priya agreed to send them to me for R to try. 

Ambu Tree is a small, family run business, which came about because Priya's Husband and Daughter are intolerant to gluten and dairy, and Priya was struggling to find authentic tasting Indian marinades and spices without gluten or nasty additives and high amounts of sugar in, and so she decided to make her own using her memories of being at her Grandfather's home in India when she was a child.  Click here to read Priya's Story

I was out when the parcel arrived and I had one of those little cards through the door, with my alias Lupin Girl on the card informing me to bring I.D to the post office to collect my parcel.  This was a little problem for me, and one I hadn't foreseen.  I have only recently started blogging and growing Lupin Girl and have no I.D of any description lol, luckily there was an option to have it re-delivered so I chose that.  Typically this second time they delivered I was also out!  Why do they always deliver when you are on the school run?  This time though, luckily, my neighbour was home and took the parcel in for me.  I was very excited to be getting my first delivery as Lupin Girl.

The first marinade my son, and the rest of my family, tried was the Chinese Five Spice one as Priya had tweeted to say that it was the milder tasting one of the two and smelt amazing and fruity.  I have to admit here to cooking it slightly different to the directions on the sleeve (Sorry Priya!)  I cooked my chicken chunks in the frying pan, then, making sure the pan was not oily, I poured the marinade over the chicken and stirred to make sure it was all covered, then I left it on a low heat to work it's magic, it's really quite amazing as it looks just as if you've cooked the chicken on the BBQ when done. 

We were having jacket potatoes with various fillings (including some of the marinaded chicken) for dinner that night, well except for the boys who don't like jacket potatoes and who were having the marinaded chicken with rice.

I was actually speechless at dinnertime, L decided she wanted to try the marinaded chicken (I think discovering that she liked the lemon and herb chicken has opened her mind to trying things)  I had left a good portion of the chicken which I cooked plain so that I could eat it, and I expected L to eat it too, however she liked the chicken with the Chinese Five Spice on!  R loved it, he said it tasted really yummy and not spicy. C and B enjoyed it too and I had to cook a second batch for when J got home from work as they ate the lot. 

They did all say that it had a warming, taste which they loved and R has asked me a couple of times since if he is having it for dinner again.

A few nights later I tried the Tastebud Tickling Mild Tandoori marinade, again with chicken and rice, again I left some chicken plain, some for me, and some because Priya had said it was a bit spicier than the Chinese Five Spice marinade, it did smell spicier. 

Again, everyone wanted to try it, and again I was left speechless as L, who normally doesn't like anything with even a tiny bit of flavour, loved it, despite R warning her it was spicy before she tasted it, she did need to have a glass of milk with dinner, but ate everything.  B wasn't keen on this one though, her reason made me chuckle as she said it tasted yellow!  As I've not been able to try them myself I've had to rely on them for reviews and C, my budding chef, said he thinks maybe B can taste the turmeric or cumin and perhaps doesn't enjoy those flavours?  R enjoyed this marinade too, and J enjoyed using up the pot on some vegetables with rice for his lunch the following day.

I love the fact that these marinades are made with natural ingredients, they fit in with our attempt at cutting out refined sugar:

                         Healthy - Only 20 calories per serving, no added oils, gluten free and dairy free. The tandoori marinades contain no added sugar whilst the Chinese five spice contains a healthy agave nectar (suitable for diabetics and vegans).
                           ( )

Don't be put off by the size of the pots, you get 100g and the sleeve says it serves 4-6, it does indeed, and at £3.85 per pot is a fair price considering you are getting a natural, healthy marinade to feed 6.  I will be ordering these again as they can be frozen and will be fantastic for those times when I slip out and leave hubby in charge of cooking dinner for the tribe.

I want to thank Priya and Ambu Tree for allowing R the chance to try these amazing marinades out.  R said they were amazing he loved them both the same and that they were yummy. 

Lupin Girl x

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Fun Saturday

I think today has been quite a good day.  Apart from waking with a pounding headache, not sure if I had a migraine in the night.  I took my solpodol and had some coffee and breakfast and started to feel a bit better.

J and C are out today, so I took B, L and R into town, they needed to return and pick some new library books, and part of R's homework is to plant and grow a seed, and to keep a diary of the changes that occur, so we popped into Wilko's.  He wanted to grow some flowers, currently we don't have any in the back garden, and the seeds were on 3 for 2 so they all picked a packet.  We ended up with Flax (R's) Cosmos Picotee (L's) and Love In A Mist Persian Jewels Mixed (B's) We have planned them in a scatter mix in a raised bed in which we often grow vegetables and I've put some into the front garden, and an elephant planter which I bought a couple of years ago and haven't used yet too, so hopefully something will grow, we're not brilliant at gardening!  Then I ended up weeding the front garden and along the side of the house (well a bit, I got spiked and stung a few times and gave up!) and it does look a lot better now.

Currently L has made a challenge on Minecraft for R to complete, and B is making a tin robot out of a kit she got for Christmas.

We're going to go to one of my best friends houses as her little girl (my Goddaughter) turned 6 earlier in the week (how on Earth did that happen?) so we're taking her pressies over and staying for fish and chips.  We're going to stop off at Sainsbury on the way as I don't know whether to get the chips, buy something to take over, or get McD's instead (as we're not coeliac just intolerant we are allowed chip shop chips, some shops have been ok, both lots we've had in Hunstanton have been fine, and some give us stomach ache, and we're both on antihistamines at the mo for hayfever so may be ok) The dilemma's of having intolerances, it's often a trial and error game, and much worse when you're deciding for your child too!  I think I'll probably try the chips and buy something from Sainsbury to go with them.

Ooh I've just remembered I've got a portion of gluten free fish from when I made it the other week, I'll take that for me & get R something :)

I hope you're having a fun Saturday too,

Lupin Girl x


Well we went to Sainsbury's and decided to play it safe dinner wise. I bought the noodle pot for R that he had on his birthday. Got to my friends house, had a fun hour at the park, went back and she went to get the fish & chips for the others (I was going to risk the chips) made R's noodle pot, when B noticed they looked different. EPIC FAIL, I had bought ordinary noodles! Luckily I had bought some bake at home baguettes, so E had that and did have a few chips, about 20 minutes after eating he told me he had tummy ache :(  my tummy is tender but I've been taking migraine tablets all day so its not bad. We came home and I gave R Calpol and Neurofen and cuddled up with a hot pack, he's still in pain now, its such a pain (literally) I don't think I'll risk chips from a chippy again especially for R unless I know they're gluten free, I hate seeing him in pain. I really wish the noodle pots were easier to identify, then maybe I wouldn't have picked up the wrong ones and he wouldn't have eaten the chips and got poorly. 

Keep well, 

Lupin Girl x

Friday, 24 April 2015

Allergies and Hayfever

Allergy UK  held their allergy awareness week #LivingInFear this week, and I decided to dedicate this week of blog posts to allergies in honour of this.

For my last post, I thought I'd mention other types of allergic reactions other than the scary anaphylaxis.

Thankfully many people don't experience anaphylaxis with every reaction.  This doesn't mean, however, that the experience is a pleasant one.

A lot of my reactions from foods consist of hives (urticaria, see link at the end of the post), itching, both on my skin and in my mouth/throat, nausea and sickness, stomach cramps and diarrhoea and some make me wheezy. (I have asthma)

Usually a couple of antihistamine tablets and a few pumps of my inhaler sorts things out, but I always make sure I have easy access to my epipens in case things don't calm down.  See my post about /how and When to use an epipen

An allergy which many people have at this time of year is more commonly known as hayfever.  Hayfever can leave you feeling really miserable with constant sneezing, itchy, runny eyes and an itchy throat. 

Allergy UK have a page on hayfever here

Myself, J and R all suffer, with R being the worst.  If he's not kept dosed up with antihistamines from April-August his eyes can swell up severely, and I'm not just talking about his eyelids, but his actual eyeballs! 

The first time it happened, he was in year 1 (6yrs old) he went out with his class to practice for sports day, within 10 minutes of being outside his teaching assistant came rushing back in with him as his eyeball had swollen up.  Everyone thought he had been stung and I rushed him to our Dr's surgery, who promptly sent us to the eye clinic at the local hospital. Who confirmed that it was a reaction to pollen.  This happened again the following summer when he popped into the garden before school to make a habitat for a small animal as part of his homework, and used cut grass. 

So now I know to start him on the antihistamines and eye drops at the beginning of April.  Last year, apart from incredibly itchy eyes at times, sneezing and itching, he was a lot better, so I am hoping he is no worse this year.  Because of the time of year in which he is worst, I suspect that he is allergic to grass pollen.  I dry all of our clothes inside over this time, and keep the window to his room closed unless the pollen count is low, I use an app on my phone to keep up to date on pollen counts. (I use one from Benadryl)  Then I use an air purifier with HEPA filter in his room. He showers every night before he goes to bed to get rid of any pollen trapped in his hair. 

J and I suffer less dramatically, with the common sneezing, itchy watery eyes and itchy throat, and the others only get bad if we have a long run of a high pollen count.

I found out that I have chronic urticaria when I went for my first allergy clinic appointment after suffering from my allergic reaction to food.  I had never heard of it before, and just thought I had sensitive skin (which I suppose I do)  I tend to be worse in the summer, when I get hot, and under tight clothing, it is also triggered by some foods, sulphites, but most often I don't know what causes it.  Antihistamines really help, both creams and tablets.

For more information on urticaria go here urticaria

Click here for asthma

Allergy UK's homepage is here

I hope you have found my posts this week helpful in understanding allergies and reactions, and that you may have learnt some tips on helping somebody suffering from a reaction.

Lupin Girl x

Thursday, 23 April 2015

What is a secondary allergic reaction?

This week is Allergy UK's Allergy Awareness Week.

Today I am writing a post on secondary allergic reactions, also know as second or late phase reactions. 

This has been a harder task than I though it would be. 

I was not given lots of information on secondary reactions when I took L to the hospital after she had her reaction to the Snickers bar, only that they can happen and be worse than the first time, so to be aware of them and take her straight back to A&E if I was worried. 

I have tried to find information on the internet to get some official information for this post, but I have struggled to find more than a sentence or two on most websites.

The World Allergy Organization says that second phase allergic reactions can occur 1-8 hours after the initial reaction.

The Health of Children Website says that a second phase reaction can occur 4-12 hours after the initial reaction.

So I guess we should all just be aware of secondary reactions, and keep an eye on the patient for 12 hours after the initial reaction to be on the safe side.

Thankfully I haven't experienced a secondary reaction, but it is important to be aware that if either yourself or your child starts to feel unwell again, within that 12 hour period, that it could be a second phase reaction.  You do not have to have come into contact with the allergen again, it is a continued reaction to the first contact.  The patient may need further medication and will need monitoring.

For a more detailed explanation of an allergic reaction, including second phase reactions see this page from City Allergy

If anyone has additional information regarding second phase reactions, and would like to share, or if you would like to share an experience of a second phase reaction, I would be grateful and love to include on here.

Keep safe,

Lupin Girl x

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

How and When to use an auto-injector/adrenaline pen

As part of Allergy UK's allergy awareness week I wanted to write a post about how and when to use an adrenaline pen as Allergy UK have identified that 66% of people don't know how to use one.

If your or your child carries an auto-injector please make sure you know how to use it, the information in this post is NOT intended to replace any you may have already been given.  This is how I have been told to use my auto-injectors and information which is freely available on the websites linked to:  Epipen website and Jext (UK)    I AM NOT A MEDICALLY TRAINED PROFESSIONAL.

The aim of this post is to help anybody who hasn't ever seen an auto-injector to know how to use one, as I would hope they are the people identified as the 66% who don't know on Allergy UK's website.

Firstly you need to know the signs of anaphylaxis. 

Anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening condition which can occur frighteningly fast, within a couple of minutes of being exposed to the allergen, but it can also take a few hours (source )

Some of the triggers of anaphylaxis are listed on the Jext website and include foods such as:

             Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, fruit and dairy products, (this isn't exhaustive people can be ana to all sorts of things, I am ana to lupin for example)

Other things which can trigger anaphylaxis are:

           Wasp and bee stings, medicines such as penicillin, ibuprofen and asprin, latex and exercise.  Causes can also be unknown

On the epipen website they say that some of the signs you should watch out for are:

                Feeling confused, anxious or dizzy

                Passing out

               Itchy mouth, throat, tingly tongue and/or lips

               Swelling of the lips and/or tongue

               Shortness of breath

              Wheezing, hoarseness

              Coughing and difficulty breathing, throat swelling

              Itchy skin, hives, redness and swelling

              Fast heartbeat, weak pulse

             Nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhoea

So the advice on epipen website is that if you or somebody you are with show signs of anaphylaxis you should administer their epipen immediately and then dial 999.

Do you know how to administer an epipen, or other auto-injector?

The auto-injector being carried will have basic instructions on.

All auto-injectors should be given to the upper thigh, and can all be used through clothes, even jeans.

For an epipen:

                      The epipen website has a video showing you how to use their pen.

                      Flip the top of the case the epipen is in and remove the pen.

                      NEVER put any part of your hand over either end of the epipen, hold it around the middle, keeping your thumb and all fingers in a fist like position.

                     Hold the blue end so that it is at the top and remove the blue cap, the pen is now live.

                     Swing the epipen down and into your thigh if injecting yourself, or into the thigh of the patient if administering for somebody else, and hold there for 10seconds.

                     Massage the site of injection hard for another 10 seconds.

                    Put the epipen back into the case, which will no longer shut, and DIAL 999  Make sure you tell them they're coming out to an anaphylaxis patient.  Do this even if the patient, is feeling better, give the used epipen to the paramedic once they arrive.

                  If you, or the patient is not feeling better after 15 minutes then administer the second pen if the ambulance hasn't arrived yet.

Pens do differ slightly the Jext pen has a yellow cap at the top, here is their how to use video

Many people are hesitant about using epipens, I know I have not used it when I probably should have, and yes, I am still here, but I've been lucky, next time I might be hesitant and leave it too late! 

My main reason for waiting is silly really, I don't want to waste anyone's time, but my secondary reason is that I know it is going to really hurt! 

I know, I said it was silly, but I am sure that these reasons have also made other people hesitant about using it, especially if they are going to have to use it on a child. 

I know if L was obviously very ill, struggling to breathe, or had collapsed, I would not hesitate at all, but there are times when you're just not sure, but time is crucial in these situations, and conditions can deteriorate rapidly and so I hope that by sharing the advice and my silly reasons for hesitating will give others the knowledge of when and how to use their or somebody else's pen and save a life.

Another worry I've heard of is that they don't want to medicate if it's not necessary.  You will not cause harm by administering an adrenaline pen, by not using it, you may cause the patient to become much worse, so it is always best to use the pen if you are in any doubt about yours or the patients condition. (source: my consultant, and here)

If you or a loved one carries an auto-injector it is vital that you know how to use it.  Go to the website of the one carried and familiarise yourself with the videos.  Send off for the trainer pen if you haven't been given one already, and practice with it, get family and friends to practice too.

I hope you have found this useful, and pray that you will never need to use it.

Take care,

Lupin Girl x

(Pease read my home page)



Monday, 20 April 2015

Allergy Awareness Week

It is Allergy awareness week here in the U.K this week (20th-26th April) and I wanted to post a link to the Allergy UK website as they are profiling some research that has been done recently.

I thought I'd write a slightly different post today, one which tries to show what it is like to live with food allergies as an adult.

It was very scary as an adult having an allergic reaction.

I hadn't eaten anything new.

I'd only ever been allergic to cats, wasp stings and had hayfever.

Other than taking antihistamines and my inhaler I wasn't sure what to do after I managed to leave the bathroom.

After taking the antihistamine tablet I waited for it to take effect. 

When, after about 15 minutes the hives were getting bigger and I was still needing my blue inhaler, I took another one, I wasn't sure I should, but didn't know what else to do.  Luckily for me I knew I could take the inhaler frequently and this second tablet helped.


I was very lucky, I should have dialled 999 and got an ambulance out, and I was told off when I went to the Dr's the following day, my face still slightly puffy from the night before.

Then whilst on the waiting list to be seen at the allergy clinic (about a 6-9 month wait) I was out with family and had another reaction.  This one was different, I didn't swell up, I wasn't struggling to breathe, I didn't have to rush off to the bathroom, so I didn't think it was a bad reaction.

Then I felt faint, very faint and hot, like I was on fire on the inside.  If I hadn't been sat down, I would have fainted, however I shoved my head between my legs  managed to take a couple of antihistamines and waited, luckily the tablets began to help, I went home and, again, very luckily was ok.

I have since learned that both of these times I should have called 999, I didn't have an epipen at the time, but if I had one, both of these reactions warranted using it and after you use an epipen you should dial 999.  I am extremely thankful that I was ok and am here, with epipens and now diagnosed allergies, through blood tests, to: 

lupin, soya, and kiwi

An unconfirmed allergy to Quorn (my first reaction) although a skin prick was negative I will never eat it again, and it is an easy one to avoid.

I am waiting for my next appointment (15 months from the last one) to be tested for peas, wheat, celery, apples and chocolate (so far).  Whilst none of the reactions I have had to those have been life threatening, they have all triggered an itchy throat, a feeling of slight swelling, triggered my asthma, or sent me running for the bathroom, and so I have cut them out.

I know how scared I was when I had the reactions, how I gauge, very carefully exactly how I'm feeling if I start to suspect a reaction, how I take an anti-histamine straight away and make sure my epipens are nearby. 

How uncertain you feel trying something new, and how disappointing it is when a product you like changes it's recipe and you can no longer eat it because it now says 'may contain'  Sure, it could be ok, it only says 'may contain' but change soya to rat poison, and change my product to your dinner, would you eat it? 

You might be lucky, it might not contain it!

I'll be back tomorrow, writing from the perspective of a parent to a child/children with food allergies.

I will do a blog on how and when to use your auto-injector too.

Lupin Girl x

Sunday, 19 April 2015


We love a stew, and I love it with dumplings, I put our stew on to cook in the slow cooker this morning at about 10am, and we've been out for most of the day, so unfortunately we won't be having it with dumplings today, but I'll post them on this recipe so that you know how to make them, they need about 2 hours in the slow cooker though.

I made the tomato soup  from this post last night.

Stew ingredients:

                          1 portion of the tomato soup

                          1 pack of stewing beef

                          1 parsnip

                          3 carrots

                          1 swede/turnip

                          8 potatoes

                          500ml water

                          200g pre cooked pinto beans


             Cook 200g of pinto beans in 1 litre of boiling water, you need to boil them for 10 minutes, then cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, then you need to drain and rinse before putting into the slow cooker.

             Put your tomato soup into your slow cooker and turn onto the high setting.

             Add your stewing beef.

             Peel and dice your vegetables and potatoes into nice, bite sized chunks.

             Add the 500ml of boiling water, put the lid on and leave for about 1-2 hours, then reduce to the low setting.

Ingredients for gluten free dumplings:

             200g gluten free flour

             100g gluten free suet

             Enough water to bring together to form a dough


             Weigh out your flour and suet.

              Add enough water to bring together, you will need to use your hands, it needs to be slightly sticky, but not wet.

              Form balls, I usually make about 10-12.

             Put them into the slow cooker with the stew at least 2 hours before you want to eat.

This is a brilliant dish for busy evenings, or if you don't mind having it without the dumplings for when you've been out all day so that you don't have to cook when you get in, them smell when you walk into the house is amazing, and I'm off to dish ours up now.

I got 6 good sized portions and some left over to freeze ( I'd say another 2-3 portions)

I hope you like it as much as we do,

Lupin Girl x

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sugar Free, Gluten Free Power Balls and Flapjacks

I've had a day of cleaning and baking today. I've scrubbed and bleached the bathroom, cleaned the windows, hoovered, scrubbed the floors by hand as the steam mop has broken and tidied and cleaned the kitchen!

Then I decided I hadn't made anything sweet for a while, so I dug out Davina's book and have made the Power balls and flapjacks. 

I had bought almond nut butter a while ago with the intention of making the power balls but had ended up eating most of it on toast and so only had enough to make half of the amount. 


                50g nut butter

                50g honey

                50g desiccated coconut

                50g gluten free oatmeal

                Desiccated coconut & cocoa powder for rolling


            Put your nut butter and honey into a saucepan and heat until melted. 

            Weigh out your coconut and oatmeal and pour your butter/honey into it. 

            Stir everything in then pop into the fridge for 10 minutes. 

            Roll the cooled mixture into walnut sized balls and roll in the coating of your choice. 

Flapjack ingredients:

             200g unsalted butter

             250ml honey

             75g chopped apricots

             75g raisins

             350g gluten free oats


            Melt the honey and butter in a saucepan. 

            Add the fruit and oats and stir together. 

           Put mixture onto a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes on gas mark 4. As soon as you take them out cut the surface and then when cooled cut into squares. 

Looking forward to trying it all. 

Off for a sit down and a natter with my Mother-in-Law now. 

Take care, 

Lupin Girl x

Friday, 17 April 2015

Lemon, herb and chilli Pollock

Today has been a good day.  I have had my hair re-styled, it's now shorter than it was (pretty normal for a hair cut I guess lol) before it was fairly long, and now it sits on my shoulders, and I have had a million layers put into it so I can make it look all messy, and my fringe now sweeps across my forehead and is now much thicker than before.

Then after work, I had to wait in for the shopping delivery (£45 this week) and then it was time for the school run, I'm so glad it's Friday.

When I cooked fish for the family last time, I did it simply in butter and sprinkled with herbs, most of the children, although they ate it, weren't keen, so when fish came around on the planner I thought I'd give it another go but try to flavour the fish a bit more.  Lemon and herb has gone down so well with the chicken and the turkey and so I thought I'd try it on the fish, but with a bit of a twist on some of them with some chilli as well.


                 1 fish fillet per person (I used frozen ones)

                 Juice of 1 lemon

                 Dried herbs

                Chilli powder


                Green beans, sweetcorn, peas, broccoli and cauliflower


This is so easy!

              Peel your potatoes and put them on to boil.

              Put your fish fillets onto a baking tray, pour over the juice of half a lemon.

             Sprinkle dried herbs and or chilli powder over your fillets.

             Cook on gas mark 4 for 20 minutes.

              Cook your vegetables.

             Once dished up, pour a little lemon juice over each fillet.

I hope you've had a great day,

Lupin Girl x