Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Walking, skating, eating (???) in a Winter Wonderland

It's become a bit of a Christmas tradition, for The Hub and his friends, to meet up at some ice rink in London over the Christmas period for a bit of 'shuffling' around the ice. The Hub and I don't get to see them that often and are more than happy to do a bit of ice skating, so we join them. For the last two years it's been at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. 

The Entrance
Now, although it can get rather busy, there, at certain times of the day, I quite like Winter Wonderland. There are quite a lot of ice rinks and 'Christmas Market' stalls set up in little log cabins, around the UK at Christmas time, but I think that this is the best, (maybe the cheesiest) and most certainly the biggest, that I've been to.

A lovely bit of Christmas 'cheese'!
I'm a real sucker for this kind of thing - festive shopping, broken up by a few fairground rides; fuelled by mulled wine and lots of seasonal goodies. I have to be honest, if I didn't have any food intolerances to consider, I'd be as happy as a pig in a trough!

As it is, I usually just wander among the stalls experiencing huge normality envy - you know the feeling - you watch other people buying and consuming goodies with complete abandon, oblivious to the fact that for YOU (as much as you might want to join in) it's not an option. Sometimes, I have actually felt the urge to say to people, 'Do you know how lucky you are?'

Have to say, I'd LOVE to be able to buy a dairy and gluten free Crepe at a Christmas Market.
The previous year I'd suffered normality envy really bad. It was the first time, (since Baby was born) that I'd been in that kind of setting, and consequently, the misery was intense. That particular day was only redeemed by a quick stop at Costa on the way home, where, in the racks of pre-packaged food, next to the till, I'd discovered their gluten and dairy free Christmas cake slice. And actually, it was quite good!

So it was that Friday night (I'd left it a bit late) I found myself surveying my cupboard and wondering what alternative treats I could take along with me, so that I wouldn't feel so deprived.

Unfortunately, I can't find my small flask at the moment, so taking some Winter Cordial  as a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine or Kara dairy free Hot Chocolate, which  would be ideal if the weather turned out to be cold, was not an option. The thermal food flask was ear marked for Baby's lunch (left-over Shepherd's Pie, from the night before that would be re-heated during breakfast) so taking my own dairy free and gluten free frankfurters (by Unearthed and yes, I did consider it) was also out of the question.

So, instead, I packed some Kelkin jaffa cakes, bread sticks, Pom Bears and Popcorn and off we set! I felt semi-prepared for feelings of deprivation but decided that actually  I was more excited to be out and about and seeing our friends again.

Going earlier in the day, was definitely an advantage - Winter Wonderland was less crowded, for one thing, but also I could see more clearly what was on offer at the stalls. And then I came across this:

A stall selling grilled salmon - my favourite fish! I checked it out and the fish was just rubbed in salt before being grilled over an open fire. It came with a salad and a roll, but they seemed quite happy to serve me the salmon with just the salad and no dressing. It cost me £8, mind you (no wonder they were happy!!!!) but I ended up with this:

The grilled salmon was quite salty, but delicious!

Poor deprived creature that I am, I was quite happy with that! 

Which I accompanied with these:

A stall entirely for fries!

This stall was dedicated completely to fries. I had intended to check out whether they were actually made with potato (fries can mean anything) or coated with anything, first, but The Hub disappeared and got them without me. So who knows what was in/on them. Baby and I both ate them and seemed fine, but I'd advise you to be more cautious, than us.*

A couple of other food stalls, I'd like to have checked out, were a corn on the cob stall (I'm quite happy to eat mine without butter), a chestnut stall (do they add anything to them, before they're roasted?) and a Haribo stall (are Haribo gluten free?)!

Anyone for Haribo?
And these were just for starters - there were all kinds of roasts and soup on offer, that I didn't get a chance to investigate (although my gluten-free friend Naomi seemed happy with a roast turkey leg). 

So I went, gloomily preparing myself for the worst, and came back almost skipping for joy, and with very little normality envy at all... although I would like some mulled wine!

Oh yes! and the skating was good too - but perhaps not the best idea for parent-child bonding! However, roll on next year!! I definitely want to go back for more. And if you'd like to go, this year, it's open until January 6th, 2013. However, attractions, such as ice skating,  must be booked in advance!

Couldn't resist including this pic!
*Please note: The choices I made on the day, may not be suitable for you, depending on the allergy or intolerance or medical condition that you are dealing with. Not being diagnosed coeliac, or anaphylactic, gives me a little more 'rope to play with' than others. 

That said, I did check to make sure that the people working in the salmon stall were following hygiene procedures (wiping down surfaces) and weren't slopping stuff (like salad dressing) everywhere - I watched them at work and serving others for a while, first.

Other seasonal posts:


  1. Excellent that you managed to find some things to eat, that Salmon does look nice :)

    1. Yeah, it was so nice to find things that I could eat! However, I am aware that I am luckier than some - makes me feel slightly ambivalent about posting this (as I don't want to upset people) but it may help some, so... I did!