Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok… A few social medias of many. Which ever one(s) you use you will know its absolutely brutal out there.
I’m quite lucky that the community I’ve been part of a Instagram has been one of those who live by a gluten-free diet or have disabilities or are friends and family. I’ve seen the abuse that influencers, those with a few thousand followers and celebrities receive. I’ve also experienced firsthand bullying throughout my school life and as a young adult. Never did I think that my safe community on Instagram would be tested!
At the beginning of December 2021 I created a reel, following the trend that shows you with your best friend when you first met and what you look like now. Over a period of 2 weeks I received numerous comments about my appearance, my weight and a few comments have been made about my friend. I started off trying to educate those that your opinion might not be wanted by the recipient etc. But im human, theres only so much before you get sassy back through a protective defense. It’s been hard, really hard.
I ended up disabling the comments on the reel, which even resulted in receiving a dm telling me to turn my comments back on and that I was a coward. After this I took some time away from TheUnluckyCoeliac, an instagram page i’ve put a lot of work into. Building my presence in the community, advertising my blogs of the years and even sharing insights into my life. It felt heartbreaking to step away!
I’m so glad I did, it was only a short time away but the feeling I felt when I came back was incredible! TheUnluckyCoeliac is my brand, it is my hard work and dedication, its me putting back into a number of communities that have helped me along the way. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and I will not be drove away from that again. It gave me a boost of resilience that I wasn’t aware I was lacking. And for that, I will remain an advocate for anti-bullying, disability, new mothers and so much more!
One thing I think everyone needs to remember on social media is; you only see what someone wants you to see, all the hard times are hidden. Therefore be kind. Before posting it ask yourself these questions;
If it was you on receipt of what youve typed, how would you feel?
If it was your child, niece or nephew receiving comments like yours would you be happy?
Is that the character you want to be known for?
Is there something that you need help with, which is the reason behind this action?
To those who wrote those nasty comments on my Reel; I hope that whatever it is you’re going through, someone is there for you. I hope you never have to endure the feeling that you made me feel. I forgive you, and hope you can forgive yourself. And finally, please reach out for help if you haven’t. Don’t be afraid to!
The gluten free world has been shaken recently by the update that Costa coffee has swapped to a gluten containing oat milk as well as a soya milk with a may contain warning. Is this the end to a gluten free Costa coffee?
I reached out to Costa due to seeing some mixed messages on instagram and here’s the breakdown!
Firstly when I heard about the commotion I checked the Allergen Matrix available in store and online. It’s a table showcasing all their food and drink items and the 14 allergens, with the below code;
YES in white font with a red background = allergen present
C in black font with a yellow background = the allergen isn’t in the ingredients but present in the site of manufacturing /supply chain and therefore there is a risk of cross contamination
N in black font with a green background = the allergen isn’t an ingredient
Yes in black font with a blue background or no in black font with a orange background = suitable for a dietary requirement (vegan or vegetarian) with information from the product manufacturer. Doesn’t take into count in-store cross contamination from management/preparation methods
With that in mind the gluten free safe milks (with no cross contamination warning) are semi-skimmed/skimmed/whole milk and almond milk. The oat milk is a direct gluten containing milk with the soya and coconut being marked as cross contamination due to manufacturing site. So if you are diary and gluten free it would be advised to avoid the soya and coconut, but almond is safe. If you are just gluten free you can also have the cows milk.
Then there has been some talk about the milk steamer and cross contamination. Now I’ve never in the 4 years I’ve been diagnosed been warned about the milk steamer, not even in the session the NHS provides. I have, however, still researched into this and discovered that as long as the outside is cleaned and in between each use it is turned on and off, there are no risks of cross contamination. Costa have confirmed that all Costa shops will have designated milk jugs for each milk and that there are no cross contamination risks from the milk steamer due to the cleaning completed between each use.
All in all this means unless you pick a gluten containing milk (or a cross contamination risk milk) then as a gluten free individual you are safe to drink in Costa!
Thank you to Costa Coffee for the information and official statement in regards to the milk and steamer.
Another year has come and gone so quickly, I cannot believe i’m saying it but it’s Christmas season! And what better way to get into spirit then thinking of all the food you can buy for the holiday period (being mindful of waste of course)!
3 years ago I was getting ready for my first Christmas as a newly diagnosed coeliac and my god was I worried. “What will I be able to eat”, “can I still have cheese and crackers”, what do I do about going my Nan’s?” All these questions, plus more, spun round my head!
Then I headed to Instagram and saw people like GlutenFreeAlice, GFBlogger and MyGlutenFreeGuide. What a relief!! So here I am repaying to the community what was so incredibly helpful for me…
Welcome to my Christmas 2021 Gluten Free Food Guide 🎄🤍
This guide is simply pictures and the supermarket location that I’ve spotted in the UK. Some items are Holiday Season specific and others are everyday items that maybe you’ve not tried yet or didn’t know where to buy them, or they’re just gonna be extra tasty this Christmas!!
Please note I will continue to add to this the more I find things throughout December! I also haven’t included ingredients or prices (for all supermarkets) of items, but have included a weblink for each store where you will be able to find this information out.
Marks & Spencers
I definitely cannot wait to get my Christmas shop this year! Keep an eye out on Instagram to see what I end up getting!! Let me know what treats you buy in the comments or using the hashtag #TheUnluckyCoeliac 🤍
It’s no secret that I am a parent, or that alongside blogging and creating content I am in full time employment. Therefore when it comes to feeding myself or my family a lot of the time it needs to be quick, easy and well still packed full of nutrition! I wont lie, it doesn’t always happen that way and well thats okay! A fed happy family is the best I can ask for.
Here you’ll find a collection of meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and those in between times when you realise you haven’t eaten but your child has! This is something i’ve been working on over the last few months that i’ve tried in real time and during real life! They work, they’re tasty and the fill your tummy…
Moving from left to right, row by row we have;
Gluten and dairy free pancakes
Ingredients; 1 cup gluten free flour, 1.5 cups of milk alternative I use soya, vanilla extract, salt and baking powder. Method; add to a mixing bowl the flour, pinch of salt and a flat teaspoon of baking powder. Heat your milk in the microwave/stove (however you like, I actually use my swan milk frother. The add the milk and two drops of vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix. In a pan put a teaspoon of coconut oil 9or oil of choice), heat until melted and lower the heat to low-mid. Spoon amounts into your pan to your desired size of pancake you’d like and allow to cook. Once the pancakes are showing lots of bubbles then flip them. I find that gluten free pancakes can look a little pale, so don’t let this dishearten you! Top with your choice of toppings, in the image I’ve gone with peach yoghurt (no dairy free) for Lewis and crunchy almond butter and syrup for myself!
Gluten free porridge
This one isn’t dairy free as we were trying to encourage lewis to try milk, he isn’t off formula yet and that’s fine with us/him and his health visitors. You could easily swap the milk for a milk alternative at a 1:1 ratio as that is what I usually do for myself.
Ingredients; 3/4 cup gluten free oats, 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon honey & fruit to top (optional). Method; add the oats and milk to a pan and heat on a medium heat until it starts to thicken, then add the honey and lower the heat. Depending on the consistency you would like it does vary on timings. I find for a thick yet still smoothly falls off the spoon texture it cooks for between 8-10 minutes in total. For a thick doesn’t move kind of porridge you wanna keep it cooking for around 15 minutes. Remember to keep stirring when cooking porridge otherwise it will stick!!
Soft cheese and avocado toast
I know it’s not dairy free but so can easily be! Cheese is my downfall and as this isn’t an allergy/intolerance but an upset upon large consumption I can play with diary a little more than others. But there are loads of great soft cheeses out there if you are lactose free, vegan or dairy free! So I would recommend going with one you know you like as it will make this brunch classic so much nice and enjoyable for you!
Ingredients; 2x bread, 1 avocado, soft cheese of choice (I used Philadelphia), black pepper (optional) and lemon or lime juice. Method; toast your bread to your liking, whilst it’s toasting slide the knife around the avocado to cut it in half and the twist and pull the two halves away from each other. Remove the seed and peel your avocado. Slice into small strips, as thin or chunky as you like. Once your toast is done, add about 1.5 tablespoons of soft cheese to each slice and spread evenly. Top with half an avocado on each slice, sprinkle of lemon/lime juice and as much black pepper as you’d like! Then tuck in and enjoy!!
Ready for the controversial comment… This is made using a jar of pre-made sauce! I know… (* the curry sauce I used and am referring to is the Aldi own jalfrezi jar that comes with spices to use. If you are using other brands/styles you may not have spices to use and just the sauce. Therefore you can disregard the adding the spices section of the method).
Ingredients; chicken thighs (1 per person), 1 x peppers (Add more if there aren’t already peppers in your curry sauce), 1 jar of curry sauce*, 400g tin of chopped tomatoes. Method; chop the pepper into small chunks, heat a frying pan with a bit of oil; I used rapeseed here. Brown off each side of the chicken thighs, then add the peppers and the spices from the curry sauce. Once fried off, turn of the heat and add to your ingredients to the slow cooker. Top the chicken, peppers and spices off with the tinned tomatoes and curry sauce, season with salt and pepper, then cook on low for a few hours. About 2 hours in I remove the chicken thighs and shred them in a bowl, then reintroduce them to the slow cooker. About 30 minutes before serving, if you are preparing fresh rice start to cook it now. Alternatively for speed we used Tesco own frozen microwave plain rice and prepared them minutes before serving. There was enough here with the sauce being a little thinner than a standard curry due to adding the tomatoes, and the chicken was thigh meat that was shredded, that it fed the three of us and provided lunch for the next day.
Alternatively if you don’t want to use a slow cooker, this will simmer nicely in a large pan on the hob! You can also add more veggies in such as cauliflower for extra 5 a day or even remove the tomatoes to get a thick sauce.
Tuna and egg salad
This is definitely one of the easiest meals! All need to do is just grab all the salad ingredients that you like and bang in a bowl! Then add tuna, some soft boiled eggs, bit of pepper and top it with your favourite sauce/salad dressing!! In the image you will see that my go to for this salad bowl is lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, sweetcorn and I did (after I’ve took the photo) top it with some good old mayonnaise!
Cheesy Tomato toast
Now out of all of the images this one probably isn’t the most attractive looking meal, however, it’s super tasty, super speedy and even my little one loves it! All you need is a few tomatoes of your choice you can use standard tomatoes, beef tomatoes or even little plum tomatoes. You want to chop them into slightly smaller chunks, pop them into a hot saucepan with an oil of your choice; I tend to use the fry light garlic as it just gives that extra little flavour to it. And you wanna cook it on a medium heat so that the tomatoes start to wilt down you get some natural tomato juice but you don’t lose the chunk so do not mash the tomatoes. Then when you’ve got a slightly more liquidy consistency you want to add the cheese of your choice (I just stick to a standard cheddar), take it off the heat and just stir through! The heat of the tomatoes will naturally melt the cheese and then you want to pour it on top of some toast!
Baked bean chilli
I know what you’re thinking baked beans and chilli surely not. Well I’m telling you yes this is a vegetarian style chilli using baked beans, it’s super quick and I made it whilst washing up on my lunch break one day! Ingredients wise you’ll want one tin of baked beans, it doesn’t have to be Heinz it can be any supermarket own brand as long as it’s baked beans in tomato sauce. Then you’re going to want hot smoked paprika, chilli flakes, garlic granules and hot sauce! In terms of hot sauce I used the Crucials hot sauce and literally just used a splash! Send it’s as simple as adding all the ingredients to a source burn heating on a low to medium heat by until it is hot and serve it with some rice! The level of spice is completely up to you, I like a hot spicy chilli if you prefer a more milder chilli swap the smoked hot paprika for standard paprika and you can also skip the hot sauce. I served mine with a slice of bread with some cream cheese, controversial I know but I love a bit of cheese with chilli!
Bbq Pork Chops, rice and Garlic Potatoes
Facemail is a mixture of supermarket preprepared that you just cook and cooking from scratch. The barbecue pork chops are from Aldi, they are gluten-free and you would just cook them following the instructions that you find on the packet. The rice is a mixture of a golden veg frozen rice bag and I frozen plain rice bag. Then the potatoes is a recipe from my friend and she said it is a slimming world recipe that she’s just tweaked, so it might not technically be syn free if you followed the slimming world diet but it does make some really nice tasty potatoes. All you need is some new potatoes or potatoes that you chop into smaller chunks, oil, garlic, smoke paprika, salt and pepper! Heat some oil in a ovensafe dish and pop your potatoes into some water and hope to parboil. When is your potatoes are parboiled, I do tend to do mine slightly longer than the recommended power boil I am so I do it for 20 minutes, you want to transfer the potatoes to the hot oil in the dish (that you’ve heated oil in) please be careful it will splash and it’s hot. once potatoes are in the hot oil using a large spoon you want to ensure that all the potatoes are coated then what I tend to do is cover the potatoes in a mixture of garlic granules or garlic powder smoke paprika salt and pepper. I do this now by all but you can do is create a small little season mix in a smaller bowl and sprinkle it over the potatoes. Would use potatoes and I seasoned pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, again I parboil my potato slightly longer than the recommended, you will need to ensure you are checking your potatoes before serving. When you’ve got about 10 minutes left before everything is due to be ready popularising your microwave cooking for how long it tells you to do, you don’t have to use a frozen rice bags you can use standard micro rice or if you’ve got the time cook some rice from scratch! When the rice is ready, plate everything up and serve!! It’s actually so tasty and quite a moist meal, so you don’t require anything else. But if you did want a nice sauce to go alongside I would probably recommend like a garlic mayo/ garlic aioli or a bbq.
So I’ve paid the last two photos together as you can either do them as a pair so little one has the pizza toast and you have the bruschetta style mozzarella tomato toast or you could do everyone has one or the other. For the pizza toast it is a simple as toast your bread, once it’s toasted both sides add a small layer of tomato purée and some mozzarella cheese on top. Pop it under the grill, you do not wanna use a toaster when you’ve got the toppings on and wait for the cheese to melt! That is enough time for the tomato purée to cook through. And then you good to go you have some pizza choice you can always add more toppings to eat such as pepperoni or some pancetta or even some roasted vegetables, it is completely up to you what are you top your pizza toast with. For the Pusheta style mozzarella tomato toast what you want to do is great a little bit of garlic and smeary along your bread toast to bread under the grill trace madness it will be the better way to do it when you’ve got the garlic on top winch of toasted it then add your mozzarella and tomato slices diagonally on top of each other. Then you wanna do a sprinkle of salt and pepper and then if you’re feeling super duper fancy a nice gulp of balsamic vinegar! And then we have a pizza toast and bruschetta style mozzarella and tomato toast.
I hope these recipes have gave you some inspiration or even you’ve looked at it and gone yes that is what I want to make! The purpose of this post was to show that yes sometimes mom guilt/dad guilt creeps in and you feel like these quick simple meals are actually awful! You may feel they don’t offer enough nutrients and I just want to reassure you that they are tasty and fulfilling, we’re all doing our best and out best is all that we can give and that our children ask from us! As long as your child has been fed and watered, and you’ve been fed and watered that’s all that matters! See it this way, if you don’t eat properly you won’t have the energy to do the things you want with your child and that again is just going to trigger this mum/dad guilt!
If you do use one of these recipes then please tag me in your Instagram post, use the hashtag #TheUnluckyCoeliac, or drop a comment on this post! I would love to hear your thoughts, see what you enjoyed and even what you didn’t! If you’ve got ways of upgrading these meals let me know!! Do you have any quick and easy meals? Let me know, drop them in the comments section as well sharing is caring after all! I would love to have a go at some of your quick and easy meals for the working parent!
This diary entry is a short one, as we were very much at home and that was it! Its also taken a very long time to come to terms with trimester 3 and what happened during birth. So much so that I am writing this whilst weeks away from Lewis’ 1st Birthday.
Trimester 3 was where my body started to slow down and things became very painful. Not just because I had a heavy pregnant belly, but because my already fragile body was pushed to its limit and was still having to try and carry on.
Queue the hip subluxations, the misaligned jaw, the increased back pain and the pelvic girdle pain! Oh and lightening crotch is not something to joke about, and definitely should be discussed more! I had no idea what it was until describing to a friend what I was feeling. Pairing all of these things together for a “normal” person is too much, throw in that I have fibromyalgia and am more sensitive to pain and boy do we have a fun concoction!
Trimester 3 for me was very much Groundhog Day! The same thing every day, the same feelings and the same routine. Lockdown was still very active in the UK, but we were grateful to have our parents near. DISCLAIMER: In case you missed it in a previous post; I am the only driver in our household, therefore we needed help from our parents as I still had growth scans and midwife appointments to go to. I was also considered vulnerable due to not having my pneumonia vaccine and having coeliac disease therefore they would need to either do or take Ted to do our food shopping. Under guidelines, we were allowed this bubble (and was verified by our doctors).
Trimester 3 was also where my anxiety peaked, I really wanted to meet out baby but still in the midst of a global pandemic I wanted to keep him as safe as possible. This lead to the ongoing battle of wanting to give birth ASAP to get out of pain, but also never wanting to give birth because how could I protect him from this still very unknown coronavirus.
At 35 weeks pregnant I could no longer manage with the pain, the pain relief I could have felt even more pointless now and I felt stretched to the max. At 36/37 weeks we had another telephone appointment with our consultant who was pushing to go until overdue for an induction, despite already advising previously we could have an induction if my pain became unbearable. After pushing it was agreed at 39 weeks I would be induced.
The few weeks leading up to the induction date I was spending most of my time on our bed, feet elevated and impatiently waiting to get out of this pain. Then the evening before our scheduled induction I went into labour naturally. The flood of emotions I felt when this happen was wild! I was excited, I was nervous, I was anxious, I was full of joy! All these emotions carried me forward into the hospital alone, and kept me going when I was sent home. They then gave me the push to get back in the car and go back and insist that this was happening and I need Ted to be allowed in now. We were having a baby, and what a whirlwind that was.
I’ll be sharing our birth story separate to this and trimester 4, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
How did you find trimester 3? Comment below to share your experiences!
So its no secret that I have coeliac disease, so when we found out we were expecting we knew it would be possible that our child would be too.
Disclaimer: I am no expert, I am not saying this is what you should do, and I definitely can’t give advice! All weaning related content is based solely mine and my fiancés Ted have experience with our own child following guidelines from the NHS.
When we started weaning Lewis it was more then ever important for us to ensure we did the gluten test as soon as possible. Now if you haven’t weaned a baby before this may sound a little odd; But when you start weaning your baby its important to ensure that allergy tests are done. Now these aren’t with a GP or paediatrician, but at home eating the allergen and observing what happens. It is advised to ensure they have no interaction with any other allergen for 3 days whilst eating the allergen your testing.
Once we got the gluten allergy testing done, we continued with weaning and this meant he was gluten containing products. This is when we got Lewis weighed by the Health Visitor, to ensure we were happy he wasn’t reacting to it in ways we couldn’t see. Our boy is tall and slender so its hard to see physically if there is a weight issue, which is why we seeked the help of our Health Visitor and requested he be weighed for that reason. His weight was fine, he was showing no symptoms at all!
Fast forward to being 5.5 months old (we started weaning lewis at 4.5 months, which will all be explained in another post)! We decided that now was the time we wanted to incorporate BLW – Baby Led Weaning and not just purées. A big driver for this was that Lewis really wanted to feed himself, I mean he had been holding his bottle himself from 4 months old! After some research via NHS, Ella’s Kitchen and sharing my thoughts with friends who had already weaned their little ones, we decided this was definitely the right route for Lewis.
BLW meant pasta, bread, baby biscuits etc. All of which contain gluten. So how do I cope I here you ask?! By following the below steps I have found, for me, that this has made weaning a gluten eating baby the safest for me.
Naturally gluten free
I am the main cook in our household and a lot of the meals we eat are naturally gluten free, for example homemade meatballs, rice, vegetables etc. These meals we all eat, I just ensure the salt and sugar levels aren’t within a level that Lewis can’t eat.
Cleaning = happy tummy
Outside of these naturally gluten free meals Lewis does eat baby Biscuits, Toast, Crumpets, Oats and Pasta. When he eats these if Ted is at work and unable to prepare them then I will ensure that after preparing Lewis’ meal I was my hands thoroughly, clean the surface and any cupboard/draw fronts I may have touched.
I don’t sit too close to Lewis whilst his eating, but still close enough I am able to reach him in an emergency. Once he has finished eating and we’ve confirmed all done with baby-sign, his hands and face are wiped down before he is taken out his highchair. And then its time to go play with the water aka wash his hands! This means then I don’t have to worry about him touching my mouth or shoving his fingers in my mouth and gluten’ing me!
Sharing is caring
When encouraging to share food, such as when mommy has food and you just really need some, we make sure its fruit or veg. That way its consistent and Lewis learns that he can only share his food with mommy if it’s fruit or veg.
Like with when you make a bottle up and you pour some onto your wrist to check the temperature, I do this with food that Lewis is having thats got gluten in it. Mainly when Ted isn’t here I use this technique, as when he is he will do the heat checks!
These tips that i’m sharing have really helped me with ensuring Lewis continues to eat Gluten, whilst not making me unwell. I hope by sharing these tips it helps reassure anyone who’s in the same position, who’s maybe getting ready to wean or even has allergies (that they can be around) but their child doesn’t!
Thank you for reading, if you use any if these tips or even have ones to share please comment below or on my Instagram x
Gender was becoming a big topic for us in Trimester Two! We had a private scan at 16 weeks, they were able to see the gender clearly and they popped the gender scan and the gender in an envelope for us. At our 20 week NHS scan we made sure that they didn’t tell us the gender. Little did we know before closing out eyes that this would be the last time my fiancé would see our little one…
At the beginning of March we found out at a Gender Reveal we were having a boy! A massive shock as I was convinced he was going to be a girl. But honestly we didn’t care if he was a boy or girl, we just wanted a healthy baby.
Then the 15th March 2020 came… It was the day before I was due to return to work after a week if annual leave and celebrating my birthday in London with my Fiancé and lots of incredible GF food. My Head of Department called me a few days before asking about my vulnerability status to Covid-19 as the Government were putting new rules into place. After reviewing the information from Direct Gov it was ruled I was vulnerable as I was pregnant. We still weren’t sure about my medical conditions. I was feeling so anxious about what was going to happen over the next few days.
As of March 16th until my maternity leave started on June 1st, I was working from home 24/7. Until I physically could no long drive, excluding two days for when a family member passed away and attending their funeral, we were in social isolation. This meant I couldn’t see anyone and unfortunately my fiancé couldn’t either. We were incredibly grateful that his employers ruled anyone living with or pregnant themselves were to remain at home.
Then the government announced Lockdown. We discovered as someone with Coeliac Disease I am more prone to bacterial pneumonia and as Covid-19 was causing many to have pneumonia and I hadn’t had my vaccine for pneumonia yet I was even more vulnerable.
My mental health was very affected but with the help of my amazing fiancé, FaceTiming our family and closest friends, and my incredible team I had a lot of support! Unfortunately when it came to midwife appointments and scans, I had to go alone. Baby boy was a massive wriggler so we never after 20 weeks got a clear chance of a scan for Daddy! With the NHS you cant record your scan, so from 20 Weeks until he was born Daddy only felt and saw belly movements. I now feel more positively towards the scans as Ted got to attend the two standard scans. All the additional ones I went to that he couldn’t attend were due to having health conditions myself.
Aside from being in a pandemic and my mental health taking a plummet, pregnancy wise trimester two was a lot nicer to me! My sickness subsided finally at 4.5 – 5 months, I could finally feel baby moving at 24 weeks and being at home meant I was keeping my feet up more.
My bump was growing, baby boy was doing well and I was being consumed by heartburn by the end of month 5! Milk, milkshakes, ice cold drinks and orange heartburn relief chews where my best friends! My gestational diabetes check came back negative and my regular annual health check came back fine too.
All in all months 4-6 were relatively nice pregnancy wise, it was everything else around me that wasn’t quite right. But again, we were in a pandemic, national lockdown and I was self isolating. Three things I and Ted have never experienced before…
I would love to hear how your second trimester was. Comment below sharing your memories and remember everyones pregnancy journey is different!
7th November 2019 I drove to work as normal, felt a twinge in my lower back which is quite normal for me and then I tried to get out of my car… I was stuck! My back had completely seized up and I was unable to move. In sheer panic I rung my Mom and then my manager. After managing to drive to my Nan’s as she lives closest to my work, my Mom took me to my Doctors. Co-codamol and ibuprofen were advised along side resting being prescribed.
The next day, I took some co-codamol and something told me to take a test before taking ibuprofen. I was a few days late, but that was normal for me when stressed. I didn’t think anything of it. Then I saw those two lines and everything changed!
Due to the medication I’d taken during the first few weeks, we booked a private scan and go to see our tiny baba for the first time towards the end of November. Baba was fine and then my body decided to let rip and release the pregnancy symptoms!
Hello “morning” sickness!! Goodbye soya milk, apples, kiwis and getting clean washing out the machine! Oh man did the sick come hard! I was sick whenever, wherever and hard. I had popped blood vessels around my eyes, was being sick at work and constantly feeling queasy. Then a wonderful woman at work shared how Lucozade worked for her. So every morning instead of a cuppa tea I was drinking original Lucozade, and the relief was incredible! But this relief only started towards the end of month 2 and didnt always work…
Trimester One was probably the easiest for myself, as I was excited and couldn’t believe we were having a baby! Don’t get me wrong the sickness was horrible and didn’t fully disappeared until I was 5/6 months pregnant, but that was the only symptom I had during Trimester One so I was very grateful for that too!
After our 12 week check up, we shared the news with the rest of our family (outside of grandparents and parents, and our closest friends as we had already told them). We made the announcement on Instagram and also announced that in October 2020 we were also getting married. In that moment it hit me that this was real, we were going to have a baby that was half me and half the love of my life. That our wedding was no longer May and that our tiny human would be there with us! It was such an incredible feeling and I was so excited to progress through pregnancy and do lots of shopping!
Then we hit the Second Trimester! After my birthday, Lockdown and Vulnerability would replace the shopping experience. Working from home went from 2 days a week to full time…
When I was first diagnosed with Coeliac Disease I was just starting to go out on dates and was so worried about how long I could hold off on going for the dreaded meal date when I had no idea where I could eat!!
Now currently with the pandemic we aren’t really able to go out and have dates but it doesn’t mean we can’t plan them, right? So I thought what better time to share my Top 4 restaurants and Top 5 non food related date ideas, then now when we are all excited for a date night with the other half outside the house or desperate to finally go on a date with that special someone who’s kept you sane during lockdown!!
I would like to add that you will find the restaurants listed aren’t solely Gluten Free restaurants. This is due to my fiancé being able to eat gluten as he doesn’t have any intolerances, but also as I am the only person in our immediate families and friends who has any dietary restrictions. I have included menus where I can, these should take you directly to the Restaurants websites where you can check for your local one and what they offer, as some locations have differences to the menus.
My Top 4 Fav Restaurants for Date Night
Miller & Carter – Somewhere fancy but also relaxed in terms of the environment of the restaurant itself. With Miller & Carter you can dress up a little without having to go fully suited and booted (unless you really want to). The bar area is a great place to meet if you’re travelling separately, and they have a great selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks too! Now their Gluten Free menu, the reason why we are here, is so identical to their main menu that only you, your date and the staff will know that you’ve ordered gluten free. This was a massive thing for me when I was first settling into the new diet, as I didn’t want to look “awkward” or “weird”. From my experiences, staff are alway so clued up on what Coeliac Disease is and how to handle your food. Which is so reassuring! I have ate both their steaks and their chicken, with and without the iconic onion loaf (I’m sorry if you have an onion intolerance, I couldn’t help myself as I love it so much)! Everything has been carefully prepared, cooked and brought to me, and I have felt so relaxed eating there that we still use this as a date night or even a go to for family members birthday meals.
Zizzi’s – This was actually the first restaurant I actually ate in with my fiancé, and he the clever person that he is was the one who told me I could eat here! Best news I ever received, as I love Italian food. They keep their menu for allergens as up to date as they do their main menu, including seasonal updates. The thing with Zizzi’s that makes it a good date place is you have the choice to dress up like you do at Miller & Carter, but you can also have a lunch time date and keep it a little more casual. The environment is always friendly and Also if you aren’t feeling Pasta or Pizza they do delicious salads and fish dishes. Zizzi’s also offer vegan and non-gluten items which is perfect if you have other intolerances alongside gluten! They also have incredible drinks, a personal favourite of mine is the raspberry and mint cooler, so I am very excited to try their new orange and watermelon one!! What I have experienced when eating at Zizzi’s is that when you order from the non-gluten menu they will be asked if its an allergen or preference. When you state allergen they will ask what it is, this is solely for your safety and also theirs, so they can ensure that you are only provided with food that is safe for you and you are not misguided. The staff are also very clued up and are able to answer any questions! A perfect example of this was when I went for my works Christmas Meal there, and they gave me a brownie that looked like a few of my colleagues. I double checked with the waitress and she informed me that the brownie across their menus is naturally gluten free as it doesn’t contain any flour which is why it looked identical to my colleagues. I trusted her, ate it and had no reaction at all!
Hickories – Now Hickories do have amazing cocktails, mocktails and proper Southern style drinks including amazing ice teas! But my favourite thing about Hickories is that you can dress as casual as you like and even go on a double date! My biggest advice with Hickories is to not eat anything big for lunch if you are going on the evening, purely because their portion sizes are decent and you will have a massive menu to pick from! Starters, mains, sides and deserts! What more could you want?! Hickories is a good, American style bbq place that is also family friendly. We have been with friends on a double date, my parents and with my parents and brother for birthdays! The staff at Hickories follow strict guidelines from the government, which means when you order a manager should come over to you and confirm that what you’ve ordered is safe for your intolerance/coeliac disease. They should then also bring your food out with a little flag in, but the flag doesn’t identify an allergy like what you would see at Nandos. If this doesn’t happen, don’t be afraid to double check with the manager that your food has been prepared safely. I have been to Hickories properly 3 times in total, and only once have we had to question it. They were so apologetic for it and even went and triple checked with the chef that the food was safe for me, and it made me feel cared for which for me is important when dealing with such a big dietary requirement.
Prezzo – Another great Italian restaurant, Prezzo really feels like a intimate restaurant! Even when busy there is a sense of everyone is there for there own experience, there is no fear of people watching. Something that makes a first date/first food date venue more relaxing. It’s also a great place for meeting each others friends for the first time, due to the intimacy of the tables and the relaxed environment. Prezzo’s gluten free menu is very similar to their main menu, with identical dishes, however it does look very different as the size of the menu paper itself is so drastically different. Why their main menu is so large I don’t know, but the food and the service makes up for it! My favourite menu items have got to be the meatball starter, the garlic bread and the carbonara pasta bake! Followed by the delicious Citrus Cooler cocktail, which is so refreshing yet has the right level of tangy to it I always order it! We enjoy prezzo because you can also go for a lunch time date not just evening, and we have also go with friends and family (on different occasions including birthdays and telling our friends we were expecting a baby). Why I enjoy it as a coeliac is down to the professionalism, the feeling of being included and that my food isn’t an issue to them to prepare. Now I haven’t experienced many places that make me feel like its an issue, but Prezzo is definitely one of those restaurants that just make you feel very cared for naturally. Something I value as someone with such a serious issue based around food and my health. I have included the link to their website as you will need to check your local restaurant for items and prices, however, when I checked our local menu it appears to be a reduced one. I can only assume this is in relation to covid-19.
Live Performance – Music, Theatre, Comedians; Now my fiancé is not one for the theatre and I haven’t seen a comedian live. However, we are both very into the music scene and love going to gigs/concerts! We have so far managed to go to The 1975, LANY, Halsey (that was definitely more for me haha) and have plans for many more in the future when things get back up and running. My favourite thing about these types of dates is that they are so low key and relaxed, that it doesn’t matter if you are a fan or not, and they also give you a little more of an insight into one and other without it feeling like an intrusive round of 21 questions.
Cinema – Everyman; Now where we live we are quite lucky to have an Everyman cinema and a “standard” cinema very close to us. Our favourite thing about the Everyman is you get to sit on a sofa together, have a table to put your drink and snacks and the food there looks incredible! Now I, as a coeliac, cannot eat anything other than the popcorn and a few of the snacks in the chocolate department. However, I personally don’t enjoy eating burgers in the cinema. The cinema is such a nice relaxed date, that you can whack whatever outfit on! I personally love a good jean and top combo from a bloat friendly wardrobe (- you need to check out the hashtag mybloatedwardrobe on instagram started by The Tummy Diaries, the inspo on there is unreal!), and you can meet there like 30 minutes beforehand as they have a lovely seating area and do great drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, as well as hot and cold!
Day trip to another city – We’ve done this a few times now, including going to a Free From Event in Oxford. This may be something more when you are both comfortable with each other, or as a date day when you’re already in a relationship, but either way its such a good experience! Whether you drive or get public transport, you are in the company of each other all day yet there is no pressure to do anything too extravagant or fancy, unless you really want to. We have been to Nottingham and Oxford a few times, and have also been to London for the weekend (which I know is a bit different to a day trip), where we have looked round the shops or explored the town centre just taking in the scenery. We have included going for food in these, but you really don’t have too. You could visit museums, local landmarks such as castles or nature parks. If you did want to incorporate food, but not a restaurant, you could organise a picnic that you pack and look after. Easy way to have safe foods for you without feeling awkward or like a nuisance.
Ghetto Golf / Crazy Golf – We actually have only done a crazy golf styled date once when we went to Oxford for the weekend, but, before Lockdown happened we were looking into going to Ghetto Golf as I have never been. Similar to going to an arcade, it is so much fun going to crazy golf! You don’t have to be into golf or even be good at it to go, you get to laugh at the scores/the shots/the set up of the hole your’e at. With places like Ghetto golf, you can add cocktails/mocktails to the mix, and there are no children so it can often be more funnier as there are more ‘adult’ decorations to have a laugh at. Although, I do hear there is a clown room in Ghetto Golf, so if like me clowns are not your thing, be very prepared!! Again this is an activity date you can do as a pair, with couple friends, or even a perfect mate date with the girls/boys! A bit of friendly competition never hurt did it 😉
Bowling & Arcades; If you are looking for a bit of fun and some friendly competition you can do this as a couple or add a few couple friends and make it a double/triple date! Visiting the Bowling alley and Arcades is such a timeless date, they are often in one location and can be quite cheap too! With bowling I will say book a few games, we did it just the two of us and two games went so quickly we ended up going to the cinema too! Which to be honest, was a really good date overall, and was our second ever date! My favourite thing about these date nights is getting to have a laugh, its the least embarrassing as you will both be bad at something if not the same thing and it is just all about being in the moment. You’ll end up with some really good memories too! We still laugh about how we thought two games for just the two of us would be enough.
Some of these may not be to your taste, but sometimes a date you have never done before or would never do can be so much fun! Even if you never do it again…
I would love to hear some of your date ideas too, please feel free to share what’s your favourite type of date! If you try one of these date ideas, let me know how you found it!
My diagnosis of Coeliac Disease was a massive shock! I had no idea what Coeliac Disease was, that it was being tested for or even that I had been struggling with a dietary problem for so long!
In January 2018 I was referred to Rheumatology for an assessment regarding issues I was having with my joints. During my assessment I was advised I would need to go through a number of tests including a blood test to check my Thyroid, for Rheumatoid Arthritis and my vitamin levels.
Roll forward to a couple of weeks and I was sat in my GP being told I have Coeliac Disease, low Vit D and told what the next steps were. What a learning curve this was going to be for myself and my family.
To say I was confused is an understatement. I’d always struggled with my weight, but I had never been underweight (only as a baby in the first few months) and didn’t have the generic symptoms my GP had mentioned. Had they got it wrong? Turns out massively that they definitely hadn’t!
In May 2018 I had my Endoscopic Biopsy (basically a camera sent down your throat to take a biopsy of your small intestine and gut), which required eating gluten containing food for a week to avoid a false negative. I originally thought, amazing I can eat everything I’ve been missing the last three months! Oh boy was I wrong… After half a day of eating gluten containing food I looked 5 months pregnant, was in serve pain and couldnt wait to go back to eating gluten free food!
It’s safe to say my biopsy came back confirming Coeliac Disease and since the biopsy was done I’ve been living a Gluten Free life. I will be completely honest, it was and still is a struggle. After spending so many years eating “normal” food, there were things I missed and things that I was shocked had gluten in (like gravy!).
What I learnt very quickly about Coeliac Disease, is that everyone reacts differently. You may very well have similar symptoms to someone else, but your body is so different to another. I was sure I didn’t have Coeliac Disease in the early days, now I am 100% positive. Whether its a swollen belly, rash, sickness, very frequent toilet visits (lets be real now), please if you suspect you have an intolerance or even Coeliac Disease go to your doctors! It is not living in pain or constant illness.
I would like to add to the end of this post that I am always open to questions or for a little chat, drop a comment on this post or drop me a message on Instagram! But please remember, I am not a medical profession! I can only answer from my own experience or what I’ve researched myself or been provided by my GP and Dietitian.