Thursday, 19 May 2016

A Preview of The Free From & Allergy Show 2016

So 8th-10th July... got it in your diary yet?? If so, why not?? 

It's the weekend of the London Allergy and Free From Show!!

A lot of stuff about the London Allergy Show remains pretty much the same for me, whichever day I visit. This is because one of the main reasons I go is to hunt down new dairy free and gluten free products, and stock up on old favourites - especially those that aren't so freely available locally. I go armed with cash, and a shopping trolley, knowing that there will be show bargains to be had - my trolley is always full to over-flowing by the time I leave to go home. 

The Allergy Show is held over three days (8th-10th July, this year) in Olympia, London. Usually, Saturday is my best bet.

However, this year, for me, it's different. It matters quite a bit, to me, which day I go, as I'm desperate to get along to hear Dr Adam Fox speak in the Learning Centre. In previous years he spoke on the Saturday, but this year he's speaking on the Friday, at 2pm. 

AGH! A school day!! Now that Kiddo is at school, THAT is going to be a little bit tricky!

I'm not saying the other speakers aren't worth listening to (the rest of the The Schar Learning Centre Programme can be accessed here), but... he is definitely my favourite!!

Why? Well, in case you don't know who Dr Fox is, he is a Consultant Peadiatric Allergist par excellence - a BIG allergy guru, definitely worth listening to. Pearls of allergy wisdom flow from his mouth at quite some speed, so if you're planning on attending his session, come armed with pen/paper, hey even a dictaphone - you won't want to miss a thing. And get there early - quite a number of people had to stand around the edge last year, as there wasn't enough room to listen.

Dr Fox's talk was packed!

Dr Fox's topic this year is Active Management of Food Allergy - current thinking in the specialist treatment of food allergies. WOW! What a subject! Which allergy parent doesn't want to know how best to manage their child's food allergy?? 

Also speaking on Friday, but in 'Speaker's Corner, is Alice Sherwood, author of 'The Allergy Free Cookbook.' I would be really interested in hearing her speak about Ten things they should tell you about Allergies (but hardly ever do). Her talk is scheduled for 2.30 pm - unfortunately clashing with the aforementioned Dr Fox *groans*.

Other highlights I'm expecting to see, are:

1. Shopping 

I know I've already mentioned this, but it is important - shopping for food, food and more food! Especially free from treats, I'm particularly partial to those! ;) 

I will definitely be looking out for Ms Cupcake's stall, as well as favourite brands such as Lovemore, Barkat and Eskal, to name but a few.

A former Allergy Show haul!

See the current exhibitor list here.

2. Allergy Adventures 

There will also be a kid's zone manned and created by Hailley - an inspirational, energetic, creative, wonder woman who almost defies description! There will be crafts, storytelling and a trail to follow. Surprisingly, she (and her loyal band of volunteers) are unpaid for this, so show her some love, buy her merchandise and nag your local school to book her!

Hailley in action - story telling!

For, not only is Hailley an author, who has written several books for children about food allergies (see here), she is amazing at spreading the word about allergies in schools - for which she has devised a series of free allergy workshops for schools (which you can find here). Not only that, she has also created several videos with fun free from recipes for children (see here) as well materials designed for allergy departments in hospitals, to help their young patients deal with being in clinic. 

3. And also...

There is also a chance to see free from cookery demonstrations (but usually I run out of time/energy for these). 

This year the Allergy Show is also co-locating (sharing the space) with the 'Just V Show', which is space reserved for Vegan and Vegetarian stands (some of this will be free from, some not) and the 'Love Natural, Love You Show', which basically is about organic/green clothing, skin and beauty products. there is a bit of fluidity between the 'different' shows, although they are basically exhibiting in the same hall - many dairy free products were located in the Vegan section, like this Violife stand:

Note last year, the Vegan are was carpeted in a lovely shade of pink!

On the day bring:

Your Ticket - it's free, to attend, but you still need your ticket to get in. You can download and print your free tickets by following this link. Otherwise, it's £10.00 on the day, with children under 16 allowed in free.

Light clothing - the exhibition hall is basically like a greenhouse.

Comfortable shoes - you'll be on your feet a lot!

Food/drink - if you're worried about finding enough safe stuff to eat - especially important for those with multiple allergies. There is going to be a 'Free From Cafe' on site, but that doesn't mean they'll cater for everyone!

Money - preferably cash - changes hands more easily.

Shopping trolley - you'll be carrying away more than you think!

Eyes - keep your eyes peeled to make sure you stay safe - read labels & ask questions before you eat (usual rules still apply). Remember many stall holders employ staff who might not know their products as well, or who (even though, ironically, it is an allergy show) might not have a good understanding of allergies/cross-contamination etc. especially if they are there for the Vegan show.

Wits - the space is being shared with various stands, some of which I'd avoid because they offer unproven alternative intolerance tests/remedies. They are there because they've paid for their space, just like everyone else, but .

Game Plan - familiarize yourself with speakers/exhibitors list, by looking at the website before you go, so that you don't miss a thing. In fact this year, I may well download a floor plan and chart a course, just to make sure I don't miss anything!

Getting there:

Train - The train station is right by the exhibition centre, if you're coming by train.

The train station couldn't be much closer!

Car - there is a car park, but it can be a bit tight in there!

And finally...

if you can't make it to London, well good news, there are other venues for the Allergy Show throughout the year:

Liverpool Exhibition Centre 5th-6th November, 2016

Glasgow SECC 11th-12th March, 2017

Please note: 

This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do get free tickets - the same way as you can, by clicking the link. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's).

Related posts:

The Allergy and Free From Show 2015 - a retrospective

Shopping with Food Allergies in the UK

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could go! But we've got a busy weekend and I don't think I'll have time to get up to London and back. Maybe next year!