Hi and greetings from Sydney. Have also just posted under Airlines about our safe flights with Singapore Airlines.
We had a safe and successful 5 week holiday in the UK visiting DH's family and friends. I think our son saw more people and places in the past 5 weeks than he has seen in his 5 years!
To those PA posters and readers from the UK - you lucky poms! Well, if an Aussie can't call a pom a pom, I don't know who can. Safe Smarties etc - I brought back a plane-load. Well, not quite but enough to eck out for several months - that's if my PA son doesn't find them!
Okay, on a more serious note, we found that in general, allergy awareness was of a level we did not expect to find.
The only time we felt slightly uneasy was in London where restaurant staff were non-local but we got around it. I guess thank heavens for Maccas.
Restaurant menu labelling and staff knowledge, supermarket labelling were excellent. I really liked how Sainsbury's have the Allergy Allert on the packaging. It's clear and there's no misunderstanding.
Although our labelling laws in Australia are strict, education to the food industry ie. restaurants etc can be better.
We were able to eat out as a family more in the 5 weeks than we have done in the 3.5 years since our son had his initial reaction.
Anyway, with this new found confidence, we hope to find more and more places and restaurants in Sydney to go to as a family and kind of well, live a bit.
On Oct 29, 2004
I am going to be traveling to the UK on business soon -- my very first trip abroad ever. I was thrilled to hear that you found people were quite good about peanut allergy in the UK. Could you tell me some of the places you ate at in London? Any that were particularly good? I would greatly appreciate the advice.
On Nov 4, 2004
Yes, we did have a great time in the UK - it will make the next trip back less stressful.
Firstly, knowing that food service people "got it" when we mentioned our son's allergy made day to day dealings infinitely more tolerable.
The UK-based PA.com devotees are probably the best to give more accurate and uptodate info but here's a couple of ideas for you to run with.
Bear in mind though we were catering for a fussy 5yo so the chain style restaurants suited us to a T but may not suit a business meal.
As always and I'm sure you would, double check for yourself to make sure your comfort level is achieved.
We had a home base in the north of England but travelled and stayed in a number of different areas so some of these restaurants may well be county specific: Garfunkel's (chain) - pizza, salad, steaks etc; Pizza Hut / Pizza Express (chain); Macca's; Bella Italia (chain), Brewers Fayre (restaurants within certain pubs); fish and chips (check on the oil and if they fry up anything nutty); a variety of Italian restaurants; picnic items from bigger supermarkets like Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose, M&S (everything is well labelled).
Hope this is of some help. Enjoy your visit!
Regards Robyn Mum to Ryan 5yo PA
On Nov 26, 2004
I'm just about done my UK trip and thought I'd share some highlights (mostly good, but some bad):
London was generally good. Aberdeen Steak House was really good. Allergy aware. Tried and true McDonald's and Pizza Hut worked. Scotch Steak House was bad. They did not speak English well and I could not get them to understand my allergy. We left.
Edinburgh, Scotland was the best. Ate at Bella Italia (thanks for the tip!). It was possibly the best meal of the trip. What was strange was that almost everything on the menu had "may contain nut traces". So, they made me salmon, delicious mashed potatoes and spinich. I felt very well taken care of.
In Dublin, we had a couple really good experiences. The first was Gallagher's Boxty House in Temple Bar. They are traditional Irish and we had a delicious stew -- Murphy's Stew on the menu. They were very good about checking for my allergy. The bread that came with it was apparently a no-no, but that wasn't too bad to not have. The other place that was great was Spaco's, an Italian place just off Grafton Street. They were again good about checking ingredients and the food was also very good. Chicken risotto dish with a side of steamed veggies.
A couple bad/learning experiences. First, read the ENTIRE label when buying items in a grocery store. I bought yogurt more than once that had nut trace warnings. It might even vary from flavor to flavor, not just between brands. Then, Beshof's Fish and Chips in Dublin was one of the scariest moments of my life. We asked about the oil and ingredients when we ordered. We were told vegetable oil and no nuts in anything. We took our trays to our table and ate. The food itself was actually not very good, but that wasn't the scary thing. The scary point came when I read the paper covering on the tray, about the history of this family chain. Right there on the page, it said that they used peanut oil to get their unique taste. I completely panicked. We were already done eating. We rushed downstairs to show them the paper and confirm.
Luckily, we were told that they used to use peanut oil but, because so many people have PA, they stopped. They just hadn't updated the papers. PHEW!!!! It was a true heart-stopping moment. You really don't want to be trying to get through Dublin traffic to a hospital in an ambulance on a Thursday night (late-night shopping and everyone is out).
Those are the experiences so far. Only a few more days to go.