In my recent blog about the Allergy and Freefrom show in London, I mentioned in passing the wonderful Allergy Adventures, who M was keen to visit during our day at the show. We first discovered Allergy Adventures at last year’s show and were so impressed with their products that we’ve kept going back for more.
Allergy Adventures was set up by the lovely Hailey, who explains her reasons for starting the company on her website. She produces beautifully illustrated children’s books that take the reader on a magical journey inside their lunchbox, accompanied by a character with the same food allergy as them as they look for safe foods to enjoy. Each book focuses on one main allergen and teaches the child “how to tell others about their allergy and stay safe around food.” These books are bright and colourful and drew M’s attention last year as we wandered the stalls of the Allergy show. Whilst he and G joined in with some paper-plate crafts – an absolute godsend to any parent who wanted a break from complaints of aching legs due to the amount of walking needed – Mike and I flicked through the books.
Unfortunately, due to the extent of M’s allergies, there isn’t one particular book that we could buy for him to enjoy and to share with his friends, but there was another product that caught my eye and which I snapped up in an instant. These fantastic “stickers” have proved invaluable in labelling any pots, products or boxes that go into school for M’s use. His lunchbox, water bottle, medicine pots and individual tupperware containers all have a sticker, indicating that the contents are M-friendly and for his use only. Even the children’s swap-boxes have a couple of “Hands off” stickers, so that everyone knows that they are specifically for G and M. What I particularly love about these stickers is that they create a positive association with his food for M. Rather than focusing on the “free-from” label and listing what he can’t eat, they instead stress that the food is special because it belongs to M or G and not to anyone else – a great message for my allergy-challenged boy.
Earlier this year, Allergy Adventures also produced an amazing allergy-friendly cooking guide, which lists out easy substitutions that can be made when baking or cooking for someone with food allergies. Not only does it make sensible suggestions about replacement products to use, but the notes highlight key areas to consider when using alternatives. Best of all, this has been produced as a free resource and can be found by following this link. With plans afoot for creating more resources to support children with allergies both in hospital and in schools, this is definitely one to watch.
After our first hour or so at the show, we finally listened to M’s request and headed for the Allergy Adventures area. Once again both G and M created paper-plate masterpieces, whilst resting their aching feet and Mike and I had a break from their moans, for a few minutes anyway. I grabbed the opportunity to catch up with Hailey, who I chatter with on Twitter and also the fabulous Vicki, the FreeFrom Fairy, another Twittersphere friend. Once G and M had finished their creations, they were captured on film for the Allergy Adventures video all about the 2014 Allergy show. There’s really nothing more to add. This is a great set of resources for anyone with a child with food allergies and I would really recommend you spend some time exploring everything Allergy Adventures has to offer, it definitely won’t be time wasted.