Happy New year from everyone at What Allergy head quarters (that’ll be me then). 2014 has been an amazing year; I’ve learnt loads, not just about myself and my own allergic reactions but I continue to learn so much from everyone I meet and all of you who share your experiences and comment on the blog. I’ve achieved so much from speaking at public events to winning awards and appearing on the TV! There have been ups and downs, and many allergic reactions along the way, but when you line up the key achievements like this and make a list of things you’ve learned and are thankful for it brings the year to a very satisfactory end.
So here goes, another year of freefrom life…
- Allergen coverage on the BBC
Seeing the new food allergen labelling getting such great coverage on BBC Breakfast gives me great hope for people with allergies, eating out and living more of a normal life. Having the BBC in my kitchen was quite an amazing experience. It was great reporting and gave a good review of the new law. Watch what allergy on BBC Breakfast here.
- Winning the FreeFrom Blogger award
Need I say more. To be awarded best FreeFrom blogger by you lot, it was a People’s Choice award, was an amazing feeling. Thanks so much to everyone who voted and continues to support this blog.
- Food Matters Live 2014
This event took place from 18th to 20th November at the Excel for London and was crammed with events about health and nutrition with experts from government, manufacturing, food service and retail, all in one place. I would normally have attended the FreeFrom session which had events on every day but instead I was attending the main keynote conference debates and reporting on the state of the nation. In total I wrote nine reports and you can read them on the Food Matters Live website. Scroll down to the bottom for links to mine and others reports of different sessions. It was really great to get out of the ‘freefrom’ bubble for a few days and learn about health in general. It inspired to experiment with food more, try new things, get fit and also try to help others do the same.
- What Allergy in the Mail on Sunday
No really, Whatallergy.com was featured in the Mail on Sunday in the Health section as the first blog in a feature on excellent health blogs. Woop Woop. Thank you Alice Smellie for putting my blog forward.
- FreeFrom Eating out awards
Always a highlight for me every year, being involved in the FreeFrom Food Awards, the FreeFrom Skincare Awards AND now the new FreeFrom Eating out Awards has been so much fun. It was a real privilege to visit two really amazing places, The Alford Arms and Ravenstone Manor – both of whom provide outstanding allergen catering. Check them both out if you plan a meal out (Alford Arms who were the overall winners!) or a holiday in the Lake District (Ravenstone Manor is now under new management).
- Speaking about living with multiple allergies
Ever since getting talked into speaking at the Houses of Parliament last year I have found myself being asked to speak at more and more events. It is not my natural environment and fills me with fear, but it appears I don’t come across as nervous and actually can do a fairly good job of it. I need practice and maybe some coaching, but this year I spoke at Allergy Aware Kitchen conference, The Allergy Show London and the BSACI. It is great to do things like that, getting completely out of that comfort zone. No more hiding behind the face of the blog.
- The Allergy Show North
If you’ve been to the London show, you’ll love the Northern show. I would really recommend anyone going if they can. It’s really friendly and growing. I found I had more time to chat to the exhibitors and as a blogger, this is really important. I also discovered new brands, who don’t go to the London show. It was busy but not too busy and I will hopefully be visiting next year again.
- Protopic changed my life
Since being prescribed protopic for facial eczema I really haven’t looked back. It is an immune suppressant, not a steroid, so doesn’t thin the skin. The results for me have been miraculous. To read about my experience using this ointment read, How Protopic changed my life here.
- Voted one of the Top 10 Health blogs by CisionUK
CisionUK do top 5 and top 10 rankings for various industry sectors and this is the second time What Allergy has featured, this time in the top 10 health blogs. It was the only allergy blog in the listing and it was such a lovely thing to hear about. They don’t contact you about at all, they just share the listing, so the first time you hear about is when you’ve made it to the list. See the Top 10 health blogs here.
- Copenhagen and EEACI
I’m travelling, for the first time in years, with so much more confidence. This trip to Copenhagen with work colleagues, forced me to join in, to eat out in a strange country and to try new foods. It is so easy to avoid those eating out opportunities, because I am always so terrified of causing a fuss or worse, having a reaction whilst away from home. Copenhagen was an amazing country and I had some delicious food with no allergic reactions. Thank you Copenhagen.
- Oxygen therapy for asthma, nodular prurigo and healing
This year I started oxygen therapy. I am now having a one hour session once a week, when I have time because I think it has helped. It hasn’t been a miracle cure and it has hard to pinpoint exactly what has improved, but overall, I now have hardly any IBS symptoms. This could be totally unrelated, who can say. My skin is much better, less dry, less nodular prurigo, and attacks of NP heal quicker and leave fewer scars and skin thickening. I have also had hardly any boils since the oxygen therapy began. So I think, great for healing, reducing inflammation and worth a try if you live near an MS centre with an oxygen tank.
What’s in store now for 2015? I have so many plans, including writing a book and getting the Allergy Support group back up and running. Watch this space.
What were you best bits from 2014?
I must do a roundup of my favourite freefrom food, eating out places and skin care products too when I get time. Who will make the list I wonder? What do I never leave home without?
Here are a few of my favourite roundups for 2014 from other bloggers
I love this 2014 roundup from Gluten Free B.
Read 2014 A year in coeliac intolerance and allergy by Alex Gazzola at Food Allergy and Intolerance Ink.
Have you read any other brilliant 2014 reviews? Please share them here.