Top tips for Outpatient Visits to Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

The Allergy Brothers recently had their annual appointment at GOSH.  We are very grateful for their treatment at GOSH, but we were also extremely glad when their appointments dropped from every couple of months to once a year.  It’s a stressful and long day.  We have discovered a few things that make the day go a bit smoother so we thought we would share what we have discovered.

  • Leave lots of time for your appointment.  The consultants are also on call for all the children who are inpatients.  They are constantly being phoned etc about those patients while running their clinics.  This means the appointments are almost always running late, very late.  Bring snacks and drinks (water is usually provided in the waiting areas).  Bring toys, books, devices etc to pass the time.  Don’t book a time-limited travel ticket, unless you like to live life on the edge.
  • The People’s Supermarket in Lamb’s Conduit Street sells a range of dairy free and gluten free foods.  It’s a wholefoods mini supermarket.
  • Allergy Dad appreciated his double espresso from Redemption Roasters in Lamb’s Conduit Street.
  • There are lots of chain restaurants in The Brunswick Centre, Bernard Street, if you need somewhere familiar to eat or to check allergens beforehand.
  • Our number one top tip is to visit Coram’s Fields in Guildford Street.  This is a children only park (no adults admitted without a child!), that is very close to the hospital.  It’s great for airing The Allergy Brothers out before and after our journeys from North Essex to GOSH.
  • Allergy Wizard recommends taking a taxi to get there!  He’s a bit cross that Allergy Dad’s car could go in the congestion zone for this visit so he didn’t get to go in a black cab.  When we have used a black cab in the past, the drivers have always refused tips, and some of them have undercharged us to travel to and from Great Ormond Street!  Thanks, Hackney Carriage drivers of London!
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One month on…

Wow!  It has been a busy month here at Allergy Towers.  I have been jumping through hoops, like an overexcited collie in an agility competition.  I am really pleased to say that I passed my Level 2 in Food Hygiene and Handling.  We also passed our Food Standards Agency inspection, and got the top grade (5, very good).

20180622_105948We have been testing lots of vegan, gluten free cakes, including a gin cake with tonic icing that I felt the need to test extensively.  Our testing panel have been generous with their time and taste buds, and supportive.  Yesterday, we delivered our first batch to Cornflower Wholefoods, Brightlingsea, Essex, UK.  I don’t know how well the cakes will sell, but we are going to give it our best shot.

The next stage will be about fulfilling our whole purpose.  We’ll be looking at developing relationships with local organisations so we can offer work-related learning to autistic young people.

It’s all really exciting, bit scary, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens over the next few months…

 

 

Is Gin & Tonic Vegan and Gluten Free?

I don’t know about you, but, in these troubling times, I find comfort in the minutiae of life.  There’s nothing like disappearing down a rabbit hole of information to escape reality.

At the moment, my mind is often preoccupied with thinking about new recipes for The Allergy Brothers Cakes.  I am wondering if it is possible to make a vegan and gluten free gin and tonic cake…  Not for the Allergy Brothers themselves, they are a bit young! Maybe for all the parents contemplating the school summer holidays?  The obvious first question is “is gin and tonic vegan and gluten free?”

Gin is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, “a clear alcoholic spirit distilled from grain or malt and flavoured with juniper berries”.  Grain and malt doesn’t sound very gluten free.  However, as the gluten proteins are removed during the distillation process, all spirits, unless a gluten-containing ingredient is added after distillation, are gluten free.  However, some very, very sensitive individuals might react to gin distilled from grain and malt.  In the UK, Chase’s gin is made from an apple base, and not grain.  However, gin is gluten free enough to get a thumbs up from the Coeliac UK website so I feel confident with sticking with my old favourite, Bombay Sapphire.

Bombay Sapphire is gluten free, but is it vegan?  Luckily, there is a fantastic website called Barnivore that allows you to check whether specific alcoholic drinks are vegan.  Bombay Sapphire is marked as vegan friendly.  A very few gins are not because gelatin is used to remove impurities in the filtration process, because honey is added as a flavouring, or because beeswax is used to seal the casks.

Now to check the tonic water!  Tonic water is just carbonated water with quinine and flavourings and sweeteners added.  It should be naturally gluten free.  It should also be vegan.  However, some vegans are concerned that some tonic waters, particularly American brands, contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Some vegan writers felt that this was just a bad product to consume, and were concerned about the level of pollution caused by mass corn production.  I am planning on using Fever Tree tonic water, which is made from Natural Quinine, Cane Sugar, Spring Water, Citric Acid, and Natural Flavours, so my recipe will be HFCS free.

Phew!  Gin and tonic is vegan and gluten free!  I think I might have a glass to celebrate.  Purely, for research, of course.

Future of The Allergy Brothers (& GDPR)

The Allergy Brothers has always been a team effort with the boys and I working together to test foods and develop recipes (Allergy Dad is chief cake tester!).  Allergy Wizard is particularly motivated and will tell anyone, who will listen, about the blog.

Recently, we visited our favourite, local whole foods shop, Cornflower in Brightlingsea.  Allergy Wizard was busy talking to Christy, Cornflower’s owner, about our cakes.  She was so impressed by his sales pitch that she gave him some free ingredients to make her some samples.  We were very pleased and surprised when Christy asked if she could stock our cakes.  Yay!

It turns out there are, rightly, lots of hoops to jump through before you can sell food to the public.  I am pleased to say I passed my Level 2 in Food Hygiene and Handling.  My next job is to complete a 92 page document for the Environmental Health Officer!

I don’t know if this is feasible, but we are going to give it our best shot.  The Allergy Brothers will become a food producing company.20180524_122818

And now for the compulsory GDPR information!  If you subscribe to the blog or you leave a comment then you will have typed in your name and email address.  This information stays with WordPress (our website publisher) and we do not have access to that information.

Thank you, if you have subscribed.  We will still be updating the blog, but not as often.  We will also be updating our Instagram regularly too.

The Allergy Brothers is Changing!

It’s all change here at Allergy Towers, and the change has been led by the boys.  The blog will become a secondary, although still very important, aspect of the Allergy Brothers brand.  We’ll be posting less frequently, but with an emphasis on longer, more informative posts.  We’ll be updating our Instagram more often though.

As to what our primary brand activity will be, well that’s going to be a secret for a little bit longer!  We have lots of work to do in a very short time!

 

Jungle Adventure – Stanway, Essex, UK

The Allergy Brothers conveniently only have a few days between their birthdays, and just less than two years between their ages.  This means they are cursed to have shared birthday parties forever!  Luckily, they get on very well and have shared friends and interests.

This year the boys’ party was at Jungle Adventure in Stanway, Colchester.  This is our favourite soft play centre.  It’s light, clean, and well-maintained.  There is a wide range of equipment so it’s very accessible.  Our only complaints are that the music can be too loud, especially if you sit at the sides, and that the Allergy Brothers might be aging out of Jungle Adventure.  Is it too much to ask for the Jungle Adventure team to open a centre for older children too?!

Birthday parties can be a bit sad for us, because everyone, except the birthday boys, can eat the party food.  The Allergy Brothers usually have to bring a packed lunch.  We were really pleased that the Jungle Adventure staff worked so hard to cater for them.  The Allergy Brothers each had a platter of ham and vegetable batons, with crisps and tortilla chips.  For dessert, they each had a bowl of fresh fruit.

Finally, we want to thank unflappable party host, Teni, who was so calm and efficient.

The Allergy Brothers definitely had a happy birthday party.