New buns at McDonalds

I have exciting news

The other day we needed to eat while out with Tim, we knew we were passing a Burger King, and there are things he can eat there, but the last couple of times we have been there he hasn’t even had one bite.

mcdonalds

So although we knew all he could eat at McDonalds was fish fingers we thought it was worth a try, so I went online to find where the nearest one was on route and thought I had better double check the menu, just incase he could could no longer have the fishfingers.

That is when I got a huge surprise

mcdonalds-Hamburger

It seemed that the hamburger is now not just dairy but also soya free.
Thinking I must be having a mad moment and not trusting myself I put out a quick post on the CMPA facebook group, where I was happy to see people agree that the buns had recently been changed and were now suitable.

So that was the plan, who knew whether Tim would eat a burger from McDonalds or not, but it was worth a try, and it would definitely keep Sam happy as he knows we never go because Tim can’t have food from there.

I am happy to say the allergen booklet was readily available and all staff knew about it

As you can see from the pictures Tim loved being able to eat similar to his brother, it is amazing at how young an age they are able to pick up on things when he suddenly came out with

Sam have cheese, Tim no cheese…. poorly!

So a big Thank You to McDonalds for changing their buns so that both my boys can now enjoy a burger.

If anyone wants to have a quick check the allergen booklet can be found here

Please check this is still the most upto date version before ordering anything!

Going to a party

Yesterday we were invited to a 4th Birthday party.

Now here is the bit where we find out whether you are the parent of a child with allergies or not

Are you a non-allergy parent,

  • discussed with your children wrapping presents,
  • spent time convincing them to sign the card
  • had a bit of lunch
  • finally got to the party?

or are you the allergy parent

  • wondered what food would be at the party
  • would it be hot or cold
  • what do I have in the freezer that might be similar
  • do I need to rush to the supermarket to pick something up
  • what do I have time to cook
  • and let cool
  • wondered about cake and how to handle that

then finally joined the

  • discussed with your children wrapping presents,
  • spent time convincing them to sign the card
  • had a bit of lunch
  • finally got to the party?

so while the non-allergy parent would be relaxing in the morning of an afternoon party, there I was cooking some snacks to take along in his lunch box with sandwiches, jelly etc and suddenly thinking that maybe we could get a couple of chocolate (dairyfree!) crispy cakes made

As Tim is still only 2, although he understands a lot he still wants to be the same as everyone else, so at the party we spend time trying to make him feel the same as everyone else.

This was the first party that we had been to that we had a real issue over the birthday cake as he is reaching the age that he knows what is going on, he saw the cake, knew it was being sliced and put into everyone elses party bags and started to have a meltdown.
This is why as an allergy mum I always carry something in my bag, a quick word with the people putting cake in the bags and right in front of Tim his bag was filled not with cake but with Tim Friendly (moo free) chocolate.

When we got home we made sure we got the ‘cake issue’ over with, we investigated the party bags and were able to convince Tim that his ‘special’ chocolate was just as good as his brothers cake

Just a little insight to some of the things Allergy parents spend their lives having to think of.

Don’t forget if you haven’t already done it, come and sign up to join the Allergy Thunderclap

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Morrisons are getting there

MorrisonsToday we popped into Morrisons for lunch, the only reason we went was convenience,  as when it comes to allergies Morrisons seem to be way behind, they have never been able to tell us what is in any of their products, and if you try to buy from their in-house bakery then they tell you they have to phone head office to get the ingredients list.

For the first time they had a version of an allergy folder, now I will admit that it wasn’t like most other places folders, with a tick list of which allergens are in what, it was a folder with the labels from the packages in plastic wallets, but it was better than nothing.

They are still along way from being perfect when it comes to allergies, but at least the new legislations are having some impact and they are trying.
I don’t mind if people don’t get it quite right as long as they are trying and if they want any help or advice in trying to get there then most of us dealing with allergies on a daily basis would be more than willing to help in any way we can

Have you joined the Allergy ThunderClap yet? 

allergens be aware save lives

A lovely meal

Earlier this year we went out for a meal, which to put it bluntly was a disaster, I don’t like to put negative things on here about places so that is as much as I will say, other than it wasn’t this place and due to how bad it was we were given some vouchers for a free meal which we used here today.

signal box

Today we went to one of the newer Hungry Horse pubs the Signal Box in Coventry

Although it wasn’t always easy to recognise the staff, they were all dressed for Rio and became more recognisable as time went on and were happily taking part in having their faces painted for it. They were all very friendly and helpful.

Unfortunately they had no allergy menu, but were more than happy to help out in any way that they could to find something suitable for Tim to eat. When I presented the vouchers and caused chaos on their tills they still kept a smile on their faces and couldn’t apologise enough for having made me wait a couple of minutes longer than I should have.

We were offered the chance to ‘upgrade’ the children’s meals to include a pudding, but I declined as the only option for Tim would be a fruit bag and to me it never feels fair for him to get a fruit bag while Sam sits with an icecream sundae or similar.
When I returned to the table I had a look at the deserts on the adults menu and we thought there might be something suitable as long as they were made on the premises and we could pick and choose bits. As this is the case they were more than happy to make Tim something with bits and pieces from various deserts that were suitable for him, unfortunately we never got to try this out as the boys started getting fidgety and we still had to go shopping (some of the fidgets may be related to Tim now being covered in spots, chicken pox looking, not allergy!)

It was lovely to find a place where all the staff actually seemed happy to be at work.

After we had eaten we went out for a short play, unfortunately they haven’t yet managed to arrange the weather, this didn’t bother the boys and we still had problems getting them of the equipment

This post is a review of The Signal Box, Coventry, all opinions are my own, we were given vouchers to cover the costs of this meal, but this was due to a bad experience at another Hungry Horse in the past

CenterParcs

centerparcs

We have just returned from a short break at CenterParcs Sherwood Forest.

centerparcs food

It has been a difficult month or so for us health-wise and for a while I wondered whether we were going to actually get there, but we made it in the end and I wanted to let people know how great it was.
I am not writing about the activities and venue, as CenterParcs is somewhere that will be as good as you want to make it, you can choose to sit in your lodge all day or you can get out there and experience your surroundings, pool, activities etc.

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What I wanted to let others know about is the wonderful experiences we had as people who have to deal with allergies.

Our first experience this holiday was with the takeaway service,

dining

what we ordered was by no way suitable for Tim, but then he was safely tucked up in bed so we had pizza, but I was really impressed that it was obviously a normal question for them to ask while we were ordering if there were any allergies.

Our second experience, and our first outing for food during our stay was to Dexters

dexters_logo

I decided to pop in to see what was available before taking the boys, while they were busy playing, as it can be difficult if you suddenly get somewhere and discover that there is nothing that Tim is able to eat.
The woman I spoke to was really friendly and helpful, she was really apologetic that she had a couple of meals she had to serve, but would get straight back to me with the allergy menu, it only took moments for her to come straight out with the menu and had no problems getting any of the products that I wanted to look at just to be on the ‘safe-side’
It was great that Tim was able to eat something that looked just like everyone elses, being able to have his own hand-made burger and chips exactly the same in everyway as his brothers (other than the cheese that Sammy always has to have!)

On our last day we ummed and aahed about when to leave, should we eat there or leave earlier and find something on the way home, we finally decided we were on holiday so might as well make the most of it, assuming we could find somewhere else to eat. So once again I went ahead to see what was available, the first place I visited was the Sports Cafe

sports-cafe-lightOnce again the first person that I spoke to knew exactly where to find the allergy menu. On this occasion as it was mid-morning and the kitchen staff weren’t too busy she had even got one of the chefs to come out to me incase he could offer any additional help. He was really helpful, he worked his way through the menu for me, telling me exactly what was and wasn’t suitable from the children’s menu, and when he found anything that was not suitable immediately came up with options, for example the children’s burger contained dairy, but he would happily make him one using the ingredients they use for the adults.
Tim chose to have meatballs and pasta, which according to the menu came with grated cheese, I had no issues with it arriving with no cheese, but they replaced the cheese with some chips instead so that he didn’t feel left out.
When we ordered I made sure that I informed our waiter (Olly), letting him know that I had already discussed it with the kitchen and knew it would be suitable, but I was really impressed that he immediately went to the kitchen to check before putting it through the system. He was great with both boys, taking the time to speak to them and in particular listen to Sammy allowing him to order for himself. When it came to pudding it was nice that there was something that Tim could have, and once again Olly was very quick to go and ensure that it would be suitable for him.

So thank you CenterParcs for enabling Tim to feel ‘normal’ and having a great medical centre, when we think his allergies flared up from something he ate on the way to holiday

Sad little boy moments before finally deciding we needed to go to the medical centre

Sad little boy moments before finally deciding we needed to go to the medical centre

I think these two faces show what the boys thought to the food they got on holiday.

Fayre & Square are getting there!

fayre and square

I am not someone who likes complaining, however before Christmas following a disastrous meal out I felt the need to say something, there were issues over the menu, we were advised that things would be fine for Tim, which I was unsure about, when I asked to see the ingredients they simply changed their minds on the suitability. Then when the food arrived it had things on the plate we had been told were NOT suitable for Tim

When I contacted them, head-office were very apologetic and said they would look into it.

I don’t know whether they did anything or not, but after much umming and ahhing we ended up back at the same place this weekend and I wanted to write and say how impressed we were.

Our first contact with a member of staff was very friendly and helpful, he actually knew that they had an allergy menu and where to find it, unfortunately it didn’t have the children’s menu in it, but he was very quick to rectify this, finding a manager who could provide it.

The manager bought the menu over that we required, and made sure we understood how to use it, he also enquired how serious an allergy it was so he could advise us on their cooking methods and where cross-contamination might occur.

We were extremely impressed with the amount of things Tim could chose from the new revised menu, even with his multiple allergies.

The food arrived promptly and everything on the plate was correct, the staff were all friendly, courteous and very helpful.

After out previous experience I was concerned about returning, however afters Saturdays visit I would like to thank all the staff that were on duty and say I can’t wait to return again soon.

cocked hat pic

Big John’s

This weekend we visited a new (to us) restaurant Big John’s in Leicester.

bigjohns 1

When eating out with anyone with allergies life becomes a lot more complicated and this is the first time that we have eaten out with the new additions of soya and egg to the things Tim cannot eat.

So what did we eat?

burgerDaddy and Sam have it easy they can look at a menu and choose just what they want, so they both picked burgers and chips, I’m informed that their burgers had quite a kick, I think that Sammy might have found it a bit overpowering, but Daddy really enjoyed his.

Then things got a bit more difficult, it really is the soya that is causing bother, an awful lot of the food contained soya so we started to struggle. In the end they were able to adapt things to cater for Tim

fishBecause the fish is prepared and battered on site, they were able to provide Tim with a portion of unbattered fish and chips, which he really enjoyed and anything that he didn’t eat got polished off by Sammy!

I am happy to eat most things, but fish has always been the one thing that I am not keen on, and as I am still breastfeeding I needed to make sure that what I ate was free from dairy, soya and egg. It reached the point that I was ready to give up and just have a portion of chips, when finally they looked at their sheek kebab and discovered that it was suitable.

kebabIt is really unfortunate that the selection of dishes that are suitable for Tim is really limited, but that cannot be helped, as it is something that you realise early on you just have to come to terms with.

What was wonderful is the time and effort that the staff put in to trying to find things that could be eaten by all of us. They could easily have looked at a couple of things and then just told us that nothing would be suitable, but even though they were busy, they spent time with me going though all the options until they were successful.

 

The only negative point

ketchup reactionunfortunately Tim reacted to the ketchup that they serve there, so I guess this is another thing that we will have to start watching out for.

 

 

 

 

I apologise for not putting any pictures of the actual food that we ate, but we were running late for lunch and as soon as the food arrived the kids wanted to dive straight in, this requires some very fast work on the part of mummy and daddy to ensure the cheese burgers go in the right direction and not towards Tim, so pictures are the last of our worries. I would say that all the food looked good, the portions of chips were huge, we bought some home and had chip butties.