Friday, 11 July 2014

My Allergy Show 2014 Highs... and Lows??

Well, that's it for another year! The Allergy and Free From Show is over!             


Well unless you're heading to Liverpool in September of course!

Bit far north for me, though!

I think I made the most of my time there though!

Last year, I complained about the lack of space. It was good to see that the Show organisers had taken this on board!

This year, the London Show was held in The Grand Hall at Olympia... which was great!! 
SO much more space than last year!! 


Obligatory show interior pic - all the best blog posts have 'em ;)

...all that lovely green carpet!! Well, that's the Free From bit!

The space was also shared with the V-Delicious Show, The Back Pain Show and Love Natural Love Organic but there was room enough for us all! It was definitely worth planning my visit ahead though, 'cos I realised that some bits that I might have considered 'Free From' were included in the V-Delicious Show area or the Organic area.

SO, the date dawned bright and fair, but my 'date' stood me up!!! She was required elsewhere - 'Mum's Taxi' duties lured her away. Oh well!! As a result, I ended up travelling up to London with The Hub and 'Baby'. They enjoyed Allergy Adventures activities, then disappeared off to the Science Museum - leaving me to roam at will!!

What did I get up to??

I listened and learned:

This year, I opted to devote some of my time to the Spotlight session on Food Allergy, featuring Dr Adam Fox and Tanya Wright. It cost £10, but was well worth it! 

Dr Adam Fox is a well-renowned expert and talks a mile a minute. His talk was jam-packed full of really useful information! He covered aspects such as understanding when food allergy might realistically be outgrown (takes longer than previously thought), assessing risk in terms of how likely a fatal anaphylactic reaction might be as well as in avoiding allergens and how to induce tolerance of an allergen - all very worthwhile topics!! I'd definitely recommend attending his talk, another time.

Tanya Wright, a specialist allergy dietitian followed - her talk entitled: 'Coping with Children that are Challenging to Feed.' Some of what she shared wasn't new to me, but the section on how allergic children can have food aversion really struck a chord with me! Food refusal has definitely been an issue for us, so it was really interesting to hear about what might be causing this and how this problem could be tackled. 

Tanya Wright's talk was followed by an interesting Q. and A. session in which the good old question about allergies and bad behaviour came up! I know a lot of us 'Allergy Mums' have found our children's behaviour challenging when they have had an exposure to their allergen, so my ears pricked up at this bit! 

What I found interesting was her explanation for this - that the behaviour was actually a signal that the child was experiencing a reaction of some kind that perhaps they couldn't express, or was 'normal' for them, but was actually discomforting them. I don't know about you, but that really made sense to me!!

I lurked:

I was hoping for a chance to catch up with some of the allergy peeps from Twitter, some of whom were on the Allergy Adventures stand. However, each time I went by, they were all busy - but that's a good thing eh?

Allergy Adventures in action!

I was also hoping to catch Peggy of Glamour Puds too, but each time I visited she was deep in conversation with her customers, so I purchased  an 'Allergy Show Special' Bakewell Tart from her assistant and moved on!

Very good it was too!

Yes, dear reader, I ate the lot! 

I'm looking forward to being reunited with some of her other creations in Tesco, very soon!

I lunched:

After the talk, it was definitely time for lunch! Short of time in the morning, my plan for taking a wrap disappeared, so instead I headed for the 'Free From Cafe,' which was tucked away near the back of the Allergy Adventures area.

To my delight, I discovered I could get a gluten, and dairy free lunch (I had to guess at the soya free bit, as I couldn't see a proper label).

Healthy and Free From!

I also grabbed a packet of Ten Acre Salt and Vinegar Crisps - gluten, dairy and soya free! Result!

I actually didn't need these - I just grabbed them because I could!!

As I made my way through the cafe I saw the table with cutlery, napkins etc. bore two kinds of dairy free milk. Wouldn't it be great if all cafes did this? 

Anyone for dairy free milk?

Sadly the other cafes at the venue did not :(

There were other Free From options available though!

Debbie and Andrew's sausages sold gluten and dairy free hot dogs - not soya free unfortunately, as the rolls were Dietary Specials, and made with soya protein, so no good for me, but the stall seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

Vegusto dairy free cheese, meanwhile, had dairy and gluten free 'cheese' sandwiches available for those who can tolerate cashews (I can't).

The Vegusto sandwiches looked 'normal'!

And various Vegan options (therefore dairy and egg free) were available too! 

I looked around:

My tactic this year was mainly to avoid buying anything that needed to keep cold, anything I could buy locally (unless it was priced too good to miss) but concentrate on things that were new (that I would be unlikely to find elsewhere) or that I would otherwise have to buy online and pay postage for!

This was my final haul:

All the best blogs have these pics too!  ;)

So I visited: 
  • Lovemore - they had nearly sold out of their O'Choccos, which I love
  • BFree - I wanted to get hold of one of their new Fajita kits as well as their bagels
  • Venice Bakery - their gluten, dairy soya and nut free pizzas  (with Mozzarisella) were definitely NOT to be missed!!
  • Warbutons - loved their spiced fruit loaf samples

Pleased to see the dairy free, soya free margarine!

  • Orgran - their gluten free pasta was really well-priced at the show
  • Barkat - makers of the only dairy, gluten and soya free digestives that I know of, that aren't made with oats!
  • Vegusto - I wanted to try their cheese sauce, which, unlike their cheese, does not contain cashew! It can be kept out of the fridge for 48 hours, so was perfect for transportation!

It looks like sausage, but trust me, it's not!

  • Isola Bio's dairy free milk and cream - their range has really expanded, which is brilliant. They are not fortified with calcium, though, as they are Organic.

A small selection

  • Focaccia Per Tutti - a sensation at the 'Free From Food Awards' this year. Sadly, they were so popular, that there wasn't much left on their stand, by the time I got there!
  • Hotch Potch - one of my finds at the Wessex Ceoliac Fair last Autumn (they make gluten and dairy free Scotch Eggs) were also on my list but were so popular that they had SOLD OUT, by the time I reached the stand! Boo hoo!
  • Ms Cupcake - a Vegan bakery, which made everything gluten free for the Show and quite a few offerings that were soya free too!! If you've never tasted her wares, trust me - this is amazing (and it's in her cook book)!! 

A Nanaimo Bar!

I did also find time to visit old faves Pudology and Co-yo, but didn't think I'd get them home. However, I learned that it was best for them that we buy them locally at Tesco - each sale is a 'tick' that counts towards their viability as a product on the shelves of the supermarket. I have to say, I loved the new cherry Co-yo - will have to look out for that one!

I left: 

By about half past three, although I would have loved to have hung around for a bit longer, my trolley and a big bag were bulging, protesters were lying all over Kensington High Street, and so it was time to go and rescue The Hub, who was stranded at the other end, with 'Baby,' who was threatening to fall asleep!!


By then... I was pooped, anyway!!

Back again next year?? I certainly hope so!!

Related Posts:

Fancy a date - at the Allergy and Free From Show 2014?

The Allergy Show - Mission Accomplished

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