Barm Brack – An allergy friendly Halloween recipe

 

 

 

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This sweet fruit loaf is a favourite Irish tradition at Halloween.  You can leave out the whiskey in this egg, dairy and nut-free recipe if you wish, but it adds a richness to the overall flavour.

 

Ingredients:

375g packet fruit mix

50mls whiskey

250mls cold tea

225g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

125g light brown sugar

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1 over ripe banana

900g loaf tin

 

 

Method:

  1. Place the fruit mix in a bowl and pour over the whiskey and cold tea. Allow to soak up the liquid overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and grease and line a 900g loaf tin.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the mashed banana and a little of the liquid the fruit mix is sitting in and mix it through. You may not need all the liquid as you are looking for a wet dough. Stir through the fruit mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
  5. Spoon the wet dough into the lined loaf tin and place in the oven, on the middle shelf, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the loaf tin and placing on wire rack.
  7. Serve in slices spread with a little butter.

Halloween – Kids with eczema and/or allergies

 

Halloween figurine isolated on white background

Halloween can be one of the most fun times of the year for little ones, but it can also be stressful if you have a child with eczema and/or food allergies. Trick or treating exposes kids to unknown foods, and Halloween parties at school or friends’ houses can be a source of concern if you’re not sure that the goodies will be allergy friendly.

Halloween outfits and an excess of party food can also exacerbate your little ones eczema.

With some planning & preparation, you can have a stress-free Halloween!

 

CostumesWhen it comes to costumes, cotton is best. Avoid purchasing costumes made of plastic and synthetics. If you cannot find a costume made from 100% cotton, make sure to wear 100% cotton light undergarments to prevent itching – long sleeved cotton tops are great.  If you are creative, you could also create your own costumes!

Masks Avoid masks and costumes that cover the face. If the skin becomes overheated, sweating can irritate the skin and cause an eczema flare.

Face paint Face paint is not good for little ones with sensitive skin and is certainly a no-go if your child has eczema on their face.  If they have eczema on their face but not on arms for example, you could paint that area that is not sensitive so they don’t feel they are completely missing out.  A little lipstick can also be enough to enhance a princess costume!

TriggersHeat and sweat are known eczema triggers.

Food Sugar, especially refined sugar can increase skin inflammation, so go easy on the sweets!

Trick or treatingWhen it comes to trick or treating and food allergies and your child is young enough for you to go with them, you can monitor what treats are being handed out before your child is given them.

Purchase allergy friendly treats in advance and swap them for any inappropriate treats after the trick or treating has finished.

Wearing cotton gloves protects them from coming into contact with items they are allergic to.

It is also good to have your child wash their hands thoroughly after trick or treating.

PartiesCoordinate with the organiser of any Halloween parties to inform them about your child’s allergy and consider volunteering at the Halloween party to make sure your child isn’t exposed to any allergen foods.

Medication As always make sure to bring their emergency medication with you.

 

Have a safe, happy and healthy Halloween!

 

 

Back to School – Kids with Eczema

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Starting school and Back to school time can be met with both excitement and nerves.  If your little one has eczema, it’s the parents that can be more nervous than the child!  But with some planning, preparation and communication, it can be a lot easier than you think!  Here are some top tips.  Some may apply more than others, depending on the age of your child.

 

CommunicationMeet with your child’s teacher and explain to them what the requirements are for best looking after their eczema. This may include some of the following:

Triggers Discuss what your child’s triggers are, how to best avoid them, how your child behaves when having an eczema flare and how to best handle it. 

Medication – Make an Eczema Relief Kit for your child to keep at school or to bring with them each day. Talk through the kit with your child’s teacher to make sure they understand what each item is for. Things to include can range from moisturiser, antihistamine, bandages, eczema clothing (such as the Itchy Little Monkeys Shruggi).  

Heat – Request that the windows in the classroom are kept open to allow fresh air to circulate and that your child is seated away from heat sources.

Uniform – Many school uniforms unfortunately can be very heavy and made from synthetic fabrics.  Where possible, your child should be dressed in 100% cotton clothing to prevent itching.  Discuss the necessity of having your child wear natural fabrics as part of their uniform – there are usually similar cotton alternatives available.

Moisturiser Your child should carry a tub of moisturiser with them to school.  Depending on the age of your child, they may be able to apply themselves or the teacher can assist them.  Make sure that you have applied moisturiser to their skin before sending them off to school each morning.

Education Educate your child about eczema, their triggers and how to best manage the symptoms. This will help them prevent and treat their symptoms when they are not with you. Validate feelings and insecurities they may have about coping with eczema, especially social insecurities. Children with eczema can feel isolated in social settings.

Stress – Stress is a trigger for eczema whether it stems from the symptoms and treatment of eczema or the academic and social pressures brought on by the school year. It is important to find ways to help your child prevent and cope with the stress brought on by school.  Make sure your child takes part in activities they enjoy and talk to your child about their feelings regularly.

Eczema and the sun

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We all look forward to some sunshine after the cold and wet months of winter. Sunshine is great for generating skin-friendly vitamin D but we also need to protect ourselves and our kids from the harmful side of the sun.

Looking after a child with eczema in the sun takes a little more planning and preparation, so we put together our top tips to make it easier for you!

Some general advice…

Children’s skin, which is still in development, is far more fragile than adult skin, particularly when it comes to the harmful effects of UV rays.  Remember, even on an overcast or cloudy day, the sun’s rays will still reach us

General Top Tips:

  1. Avoid periods of peak sunlight (between 11am and 4pm) by encouraging activities in the shade or naps
  2. Ensure your children wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with filtering lenses and dark clothing (a black t-shirt protects more than a white one)
  3. Apply sunscreen frequently and generously (at least two layers every two hours and after each swim) on all exposed skin
  4. Drink regularly
  5. Babies under 6 months should not be exposed to direct sunlight, so keep them in the shade at all times

Top Tips for kids with eczema:

All of the above applies for kids with eczema, but there are some additional factors to take into consideration when your child has eczema.

  1. Heat can be a key factor in triggering your childs eczema. When out and about, covering them up in light cotton trousers and tops will not only protect against sun exposure but will help to keep them cool
  2. Sunscreens can irritate eczema in some children. Make sure that you test any new sunscreen before applying it to the whole body
  3. Look at ingredients of the sunscreen – some are based on chemicals, some non-chemical minerals (usually titanium dioxide) and some are a combination. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin whilst those containing titanium dioxide sit on the skin and act as a barrier
  4. Try not to rub too hard when applying cream as this will trigger itching
  5. Sun exposure is drying to the skin. Be even more generous than usual with your regular emollients (moisturisers) and use a heavier emollient than usual at night.
  6. Apply your emollient about half an hour before applying a sunscreen. This will stop the sunscreen from becoming diluted by the emollient and will make sure that the sunscreen keeps its protective properties
  7. Remember that sunscreens are not designed to allow your child to spend unlimited time in the sun but to provide protection when they are exposed to sunlight.
  8. Salt water and sand may be irritating for some children with eczema, particularly if the skin is broken or cracked. Particles of sand or salt can lodge in the skin cracks and sting. Chlorine can also be irritating for some children. Always apply a thick layer of emollient before swimming.
  9. A tepid soak in a bath, with oils suitable for eczema, will remove particles of salt and sand and help to soothe the skin after a trip to the beach or the pool.

Travelling with kids who have eczema and/or allergies

Travelling with kids_2

Having a little one who suffers from eczema as well as severe food allergies, travelling abroad can be daunting.  Our daughter was diagnosed with her nut allergy days before going on an overseas holiday – it was an anxious time to say the least!  So we have put together some tips for travelling/holidaying to help you prepare for that well deserved trip away!

Eczema:

  1. Routine: Don’t let your little one’s daily skin care routine suffer when on holidays.  It will make for a more enjoyable time for everyone if you can keep up the management of your kids eczema.
  2. Airplane: Make sure you have moisturiser on board and re-apply often as flying dehydrates the skin.
  3. Bedding: Bring your own where you can – hotels may use strong laundry detergents on theirs that may irritate skin.
  4. Flannels/Face cloths: Bring your own and multiple.
  5. Emulsifying ointment: Bring enough for bathing each day and for moisturising more often than usual if going to a warm climate.
  6. Prescribed creams/ointments/medications: Err on the side of caution and take as many as you would use at home – usually coming in small size packaging they don’t take up too much room and worth it in case of need. Keep them with carry-on luggage.
  7. Scissors: Don’t forget your nail scissors (in checked luggage), little ones nails grow faster in the sunshine!
  8. Refrigerator: Ask for a fridge in the hotel room/apartment before you travel to store medication but also to keep creams cool.
  9. Swimming: Be careful how chlorinated the swimming pools are if this affects your child’s eczema.  Make sure to apply emulsifying ointment before swimming to protect them.  Sea water can be great for eczema, but you must also be careful if your child has broken skin in the salt water.
  10. Shruggi: Don’t forget your Itchy Little Monkeys Shruggi – especially for bed-time and if travelling long distances in the car.

 

Allergies:

  1. Start simply: If you feel too anxious about travelling abroad, look for stay-cation options for allergy safe travel. An enjoyable, manageable first holiday experience with your little one will boost your confidence and you may want to venture further afield next time.
  2. Language: Find out the translation for your little one’s allergies in the language of the country you are traveling to.
  3. Adrenaline pens: Make sure you bring a letter from your doctor, you may be asked for this at the airport.
  4. Airplane staff: For severe nut allergy sufferers, when boarding the airplane ask for who is in charge and ask them to make a PA announcement saying that there is a child on board with a severe nut allergy, for passengers not to eat nuts on board and that they won’t be selling products that are nut based.
  5. Snacks: Bring some snacks from home to ensure that you have reliable reserves for on the go.
  6. Food: Before you travel, contact a few restaurants in the area you will be staying in and ask them if they can accommodate your child’s allergies. Many times, we have found that pasta abroad is made from egg rather than wheat, so we regularly bring our own and ask the chef to cook it for us if theirs is not egg-free.
  7. Find out where the nearest doctor/24 hour emergency clinic is before you travel or when you arrive.
  8. Relax and enjoy!

Easy Peasy Chocolate Biscuit Cake

 

Chocolate biscuit cake

Another alternative for a special treat!

Egg-free, nut-free & no cooking needed, this one will go down well with kids & adults alike!

 

Ingredients:

250g (8½ oz) milk or dark chocolate

100g (3½ oz) butter

400g (14 oz) digestive biscuits

1 tbsp golden syrup or honey

5 tbsp pouring cream

900g loaf tin

 

Method:

Melt the chocolate with the butter.

Mix in the golden syrup or honey along with approx. 5 tablespoons of cream until you have achieved a smooth silky sauce.

Allow to cool a little, then break in the digestive biscuits.

Transfer to the loaf tin that has been lined with parchment paper.

Chill for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

To serve, turn out onto a suitable plate.

Leave to set at room temperature for 20 mins before cutting into slices to serve.

Easy peasy!

 

Egg-free Pancakes

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Yummy pancakes for the whole family – who needs eggs?

 

Ingredients:

175g (6 oz) plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

225 mls milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Method:

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add in the remaining ingredients – milk, vegetable oil, water and vanilla.

Stir until just moistened.

Spray pan with non-stick spray or lightly wipe with oil. Pour desired amount of batter per pancake.

Pancakes are ready to turn when bottom is turning golden brown.

Flip pancakes with spatula (or if you feel adventurous, go for the free-hander!). Turn only once.

Remove when bottom is golden brown and dry.

Serve warm and sprinkle with your favourite topping!

Mmmm…fluffy & delicious!

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