rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


It was my birthday this month. I always struggle with my birthday. I never want stuff. It’s just so soon after Christmas and I never want much for Christmas presents either. I’m a nightmare to buy for. Despite all this my family and friends came up trumps yet again with beautiful and thoughtful gifts like a new colourful smart scarf, a mini cooper driving experience, a shopping trip, a meal out, books, books, more books, tea towel (not sure why I love tea towels… but I do) a day out in London and loads more. The things I cherished most were the special cards with notes from my nieces and nephews and the funny unexpected gifts like the rude tea or rather wine or beer mat from a friend at work. You all know who you are if you’re reading this.

But I also got given a special cake with candles and everything to blow out on my birthday at work. It was a lovely kind thought, everyone sang Happy Birthday to me and the other three birthday people in the office that week… but I can’t eat this cake…

NOT #FreeFrom Birthday cake from my colleagues at work

I didn’t really make a fuss about that because the card with all the lovely comments made my day anyway. That would have been enough. There were over five birthdays, one after the other, in our office so the place was awash with birthday cake. Everyone gets their own cake bought for them.

What was sad was that no one really thought to ask if I would be able to eat a normal cake, let alone whether I even wanted a cake. This cake then sat on the side in the office and nobody ate it, because there were at least four others on the go at the same time. What a waste of cake.

I knew there would be cake for the others, I didn’t expect one myself, so I brought in my own safe, freefrom home-made chocolate brownies.

Home-made freefrom chocolate brownies to share with the office

I didn’t just bring these in, I shared them with everyone. They disappeared so quickly that some colleagues didn’t even get a piece. (I will admit now, I did make sure I had more than my fair share before handing them around, because I could have predicted this.)

They all loved it and declared it moist, tasty, just like normal brownies and far superior to the brownie bites that were bought from Morrisons for our Treat Tuesday meetings (which I have never eaten because they contain wheat, dairy and nuts).

I enjoyed sharing my home-made cake (kind of) but I should really ask not to be bought one next year because it did upset me a bit just to see it wasted. My colleagues do know about my allergies, having to ensure some food is suitable for me at every office event involving food.

Spot the allergen free food... A plate of salad and chicken.

Sometimes this doesn’t really happen either but I can usually eat the salad and the fruit! I’m not going to starve to death from missing out on one meal and have usually brought food in anyway.

I haven’t told them yet, about the cake I couldn’t eat. I’m too embarrassed, having not mentioned it at the time. And I do appreciate that someone went out to the shops specially to buy it. Maybe this blog is my guilty way of letting them know. Someone from the office will read this and the gossip/rumour mill will crank into gear.

I loved the card and the kind wishes from everyone. That’s all I really wanted… oh and maybe lunch and a drink in the pub. Now THAT would have been very welcome :)



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *