Nicola Neal’s posts

Nicola Neal

About Nicola Neal

I am a 38 year old married, mother of two children. My daughter is 5 and my son is 4. I used to work in marketing but have been on a career break since having the children. I have a bit more free time than I used to and when I am not doing chores and on the school run, I spend a lot of time thinking about food, shopping for food, cooking, eating and writing about all of these things. My specialist area of interest is catering for food allergy and intolerance, as my son has a very restricted diet and this means I have had to revisit most recipes to ensure he can eat a wide variety of foods safely. From birth it was clear that neither of the children could stomach too much dairy but over the last few years it has become clear that Zac is most definitely an 'intolerant' child, who suffers unpleasant reactions to many foods and ingredients. For the last three years I have been working out how to feed him without making him ill and I am happy to say I have now made enough progress for him to lead a normal life. He was one when he contracted swine flu and this is when he became extremely intolerant to dairy - thanks to the weeks of diarrhoea. I quickly worked out what was wrong and cut the dairy from his diet but as time went on he still had far too many abnormal bowel movements every day. So for the last three years we have seen several doctors, paediatricians and dieticians and he is now on a gluten free, wheat free, dairy free diet and is 'well'. I have been told he will grow out of it, but for now he actually still seems to be growing into it, and is still extremely sensitive to many foods and is now developing asthma and eczema. We still have many years of intolerance ahead of us I fear, and I feel I have to do all I can to try and make this easier for him, for me and for anyone else out there with similar issues. So this blog is my way of sharing our experiences and hints and tips on how to live with and 'feed an intolerant child'.

My Free From Life


This month I am featured in Gluten Free Heaven magazine. They invite contributions from readers so I thought I would send mine over. I was surprised but delighted to discover they wanted to run it. Here’s a few images. It’s … Continue reading


Happy Shrove Tuesday


Pancakes are popular in this house and we eat them regularly – usually at weekends. When I first started this blog I decided to try and find a gluten free and dairy free recipe for Zac so he wouldn’t miss … Continue reading


Celebrating Chinese New Year


Of all the ‘food celebrations’ I find Chinese New Year one of the easiest to ‘do’ dairy and gluten free. Traditional Chinese cookery is dairy free by nature. And until relatively recently gluten containing grains were scarcely found or used – … Continue reading


New Year – new doctors, new hope and new adventures.


Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a good Christmas and have seen January off to a good start. I am happy to report that we had a very good end to the year and positive … Continue reading


Cheats home-made df/gf garlic bread – easy


One of Zac’s favourite foods when we he was a little tot was garlic bread. Once his diet became gluten free and dairy free, the shop bought stuff was ‘out’. I have since discovered that Asda have a version in … Continue reading


Grace Cheetham’s Chocolate Semi-Freddo – the easiest, yummiest DF, GF pud EVER


Since the success of the Grace Cheetham ginger biscuits, Sophia has been on at me to ‘make something else’. So much so that when we were packing on Saturday for our half term holiday at the seaside at Nana’s house, … Continue reading


Skin infections – our latest challenge


Last year Zac had a horrible spot on his elbow that turned into a rash with an erupting abscess at the epicentre. The first GP who saw it said it was nothing. A few days later when it was oozing, … Continue reading


Back to the baking – df, gf ginger snaps


It’s about time I put up a new recipe. Life has been somewhat chaotic of late and I feel guilty for not trying anything new for a while. So as I was running out of ideas, I decided to treat … Continue reading


Skin infections – the update


Before we went away, I blogged about Zac’s skin infections. He had a nasty one on his thigh, one in his ear and then one in his finger nail bed. All required anti-biotics. The ear one burst without ‘assistance’ but … Continue reading


Food scares – time to think about every ingredient in every bite


In the wake of the recent revelations about horse meat finding its way into the food chain, it is not surprising to see that the supermarkets are releasing sales figures that show that our shopping behaviour has changed already. For … Continue reading


Eating habits – Old versus New


Since starting my blog about my son and his food intolerances many people have contacted me with articles they have seen discussing theories surrounding nutrition and intolerance. A while back, my Mum also came across a thought provoking article which … Continue reading


Nalcrom (sodium cromoglicate) ? should we try it?


When Zac, my ‘intolerant child’ had his appointment at Great Ormond Street hospital, we were told of a drug that might help him – Nalcrom. The consultant, who I respect and trust, said he thought it was something we should … Continue reading


A break from breakfasts – now for the science bit


As I have recently worked my way through ‘inventing’ 15 gluten free and dairy free breakfast options, I think it is time to bring a bit of science back to my blog. Don’t worry, the food will be back, but … Continue reading