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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Travelling with allergies part 10: ROOOOOAAAAD TRIIPPPP!!!

"Hi again!

Soooo where to begin since I last wrote...

Hmmm, well, we began out road trip with a day trip to Stradbroke island, where after a short ferry we spent the day enjoying the sun before cooking dinner. We had brought an eski with us which is a common sight here as these cooler boxes somehow keep out food cool for the day so we could enjoy a delicious BBQ as the sun set. Cooking our own food has been so simple and I can see exactly what's safe to eat by cooking  fresh meats and salads which are delicious....mmmmmmm!

From there, we headed south from Brisbane the following day to Byron Bay taking a route through mountains with stunning views where we walked down a gorge to a waterfall for a swim before arriving at the hipster seaside town of Byron Bay where we assembled our tent for the first time. It was about 41 degrees and at times just seemed too hot to do anything...I'm sure I almost melted!

After a session trying to erect our tent, we headed to the supermarket to get dinner which we cooked on one of the many BBQs around. Tucking into chicken and wraps was delicious and an easy meal before the not so easy task of attempting to sleep in the humid 34 degree heat. Byron was an awesome small town with a very relaxed, hippy feel, were life seems to run at its own pace, so we enjoyed a couple of days there, seeking out some stunning golden beaches and bays.

A few hours further down the Gold Coast we arrived at Moonee Beach, which was the most incredible looking stretches of coastline I've ever seen. We couldn't resist a stay here so set up camp right away. After a refreshing swim, we cooked a dinner of pork kebabs and vegetables which we made our self. Dining out in Australia is expensive and considered luxury so for us road tripping and backpacking, cooking for yourself is the easiest and by far cheapest (and most fun!) way to eat. For breakfast before setting of to our next destination we had cereal (checked for ingredients of course) in cups with UHT milk which was a fine start to the day.

We went on for a brief visit to Coffs Harbour on the way to Port Macquarie, where we pitched camp for two nights. This camp was in a perfect beach location and we completed a 6km walk along the coast enjoying sandwiches at a viewpoint before walking back. The weather had cooled down with even the odd cloud in the sky, so we went to town having cooked sausages, bacon, tomatoes enjoyed with a fresh loaf of bread.

We continued further south settling for two nights at Hawks Bay, which was about as far south as we travelled. We watched dolphins in the bay as the sun set both evenings which was outstanding. We enjoyed tacos and beef one evening and a chicken marinade the other. Eating here is just like being back in the UK in terms of reading ingredients and checking for my allergens, so it's been a real break after some of those more tricky to navigate. 

Leaving Hawks, we headed inland to the famous wine territory of Hunter Valley. We visited a number of vineyards and stunning sceneries before setting off in the afternoon on the New England Highway to head back to Brisbane where Ashleigh lives. We had little intention to see anything on our way back so this straight fast road was the perfect return journey and gave me a perfect view of  true Australian countryside. We stopped for one night and snacked through the day on our way back enjoying our road trip music sing-a-longs and snacks galore.

All in all, a wonderful two week road trip, with some excellent spots visited on the way! I'm really enjoying my time here and will now be looking for work for a month with my friend Josh who I was with in Thailand. We hope to find fruit picking or restaurant work around Brisbane so I'll let you know how that goes.

Return soon for an exciting update (and hopefully work filled) entry!

Stephen :)"

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Travelling with allergies part 9: Down under for Christmas & New Year

"Happy belated Christmas and New Year everyone!

Sorry for my silence, been in the wilds and unable to get some posts out, but I promise they're worth the wait!

After successfully managing my allergies through some of the hardest countries in the world I was looking forward to English for the remainder of my trip!

I arrived in Cairns where I spent a couple of days. I visited a large lagoon and public pool on the sea front giving my a feel for the Australian sun which is....HOT!

<3 !
Minus Ollie, I flew into Brisbane just before Christmas where a met a good school friend of mine, Ashleigh, who now lives here with her family. I was quickly made to feel like part of the family - they knew about my allergies from back in the UK so it was just a case of checking ingredients when asked to. Being back in a fully English speaking country felt so good and everything became much easier...finally!

Ashleigh and I went on one day to do some Christmas shopping. I purchased some sweets and chocolate before seeing my first wallaby which was hopping around. I was thrilled to have seen my first wallaby and one had a baby roo making them even more entertaining to watch hopping around the fields!

That evening I happened to check the Bounty chocolate bar I purchased to see it had peanut in its ingredients. This shocked and surprised me as they don't in the UK ingredients but do in Australia! Just goes to show that even though Australia is a lot like England, you can't be too relaxed!

There are free electric BBQs all around Australia, which anyone can use and are a fantastic idea. We enjoyed dinner all together watching the sunset a couple of evenings while cooking chicken, sausages and other delicious dishes.

Christmas lunch was a bit of a mission as it was down to Ashleigh and I to prepare, cook and serve. We spent Christmas eve purchasing the ingredients for 18 people including a trolly full of vegetables! In addition we purchased 5 chickens and 2 pork legs so spent the remainder of Christmas Eve chopping, pealing and getting everything ready to cook the next day.

Me and Ashleigh
Christmas down under began early with the children in the house ensuring we were all awake at 7am for present opening...thanks guys. Attention quickly turned to the mammoth task of cooking all the food. Everything was egg and nut free, which wasn't just for me as another family friend coming for lunch is also anaphylactic to nuts and eggs.

With military precision, everything was served at 2pm and was fantastic with everyone enjoying the meal. Christmas away from go! It was strange but I was made to feel at home and being I'm a lovely, cosy, family home made such a difference. The hot temperature was a very strange addition to Christmas, with not a snow flake in sight,  however the food reminded me nostalgically of home.

Ashleigh took me into Brisbane on Boxing Day which reminded me of London, with the river running though the city with the walkways on the banks called 'South Bank'...and there even was a London eye! We got sandwiches for lunch and I could easily see all the ingredients. On our way back we stopped at a woodland in search of my first koala sighting...mission accomplished!

The sunshine coast living up to its name
For New Year we headed to the sunshine coast to stay with one of Ashleigh's friends who lives there. Eating out in Australia is expensive so we chose to cook our own food which was great for me. We celebrated the start of 2014 in the rooftop pool of their apartment block overlooking the coastline and fireworks. It was spectacular, as you can imagine!

We have planned a road trip together from the sunshine coast to Sydney and back lasting about two weeks.

I already get the impression that Australia is similar to the UK, including its cooking and foods so with language no longer an issue its very similar to living with my allergies back in England. I encourage you all to visit and see this wonderful place and enjoy the wildlife as much as I have... <3 kangaroos!

Once again, happy belated 2014 to you all and check back soon for an exciting camping road trip entry...

Stephen :)"

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at

Travelling with allergies part 8: A big suprise

"Hi there!

Sorry it's been a while, but I've got so much to tell you....some very interesting developments have taken place!

We were fortunate with our stay in Singapore as friends of Ollie's lived there so we stayed with them...which for us travellers was a week of luxury being in someone's home!

Arriving in Singapore we were greeted with tall, shiny, clean and efficient buildings and services. After a short drive to Penny and Davis's house lunch was in order so we headed to a local food court where Penny who is Singaporean was able to take me through many of the dishes and their ingredients. I didn't have translation cards for here as Penny was more than willing to help when required.

Another luxury of Singapore was that the majority of people speak English which made everything a whole lot easier! We took the MRT which is a more efficient and cleaner version of the tube in London into the central shopping area giving us the chance to browse the many familiar shops found back in the UK. That evening Penny and David treated us to steaks at a top Singaporean restaurant which was one of the best steak meals I've ever had. The menu was written in English and staff were fluent English speaking making ordering simple. Top marks Singapore!
The city at night

The following day started English style with toast, marmalade and coffee before venturing out on the MRT with the first task to find the post office. I sent all my winter clothing to Christchurch in New Zealand to lighten my load so after some squeezing we fitted it all into a tiny box.

That afternoon we went in search of squash courts but only found a swimming pool so enjoyed a few hours relaxing in that before returning home. Penny was cooking dinner consisting of beef, potatoes, vegetables which was lovely and felt very British.

Day three we woke early to drive to get breakfast with David. We had curry and pork for breakfast which was a strange experience yes surprisingly enjoyable. We were able to ask if there were nuts used in the curry which there wasn't so after a warm spicy breakfast Penny and David took us on a drive to Mt Faber which allowed stunning views over the city.

The next day was my birthday but Penny and David had work so they treated me to an early present of lunch in a top buffet restaurant in Marina Sands Resort, a stunning 57 floor building with rooftop pool. I was able to ask the staff about ingredients used in the dishes and another benefit being the English speaking waiters. I was able to choose what I wanted to eat and with such a wide range of dishes there was lots to enjoy.

The afternoon finished enjoying the famous Singapore Sling at Raffels hotel. Dinner wasn't really required that evening as we had eaten so much for lunch, but we took a river cruse which was fantastic and offered a great view of the sky scrapers by boat.
Singapore Slings all round!

My birthday began with breakfast in bed with a huge bacon sandwich with candles in with Ollie singing happy birthday! After that wonderful taste of home we headed to Sentosa island for the day to visit Universal Studios. We had great fun there, reminding my self I'm still a child at heart. Dinner we enjoyed at Penny and Davids flat before going to watch the lights show in the marina. That evening Penny's daughter took us out to celebrate my 19th Singapore style in their bars and clubs.

Our final full day didn't begin in a hurry, we headed to the supermarket where we each purchased foods reminding us of home. All the products had English  ingredients reminding me life back in the UK. For dinner Penny had prepared a hot chicken curry, potatoes, duck and more wonderful dishes.

Out stay in Singapore had come to an end, we were very fortunate to have stayed with Penny and David who gave us a great tour of their city. We of course were spoilt a fair bit but couldn't complain after over two months ruffing it. It mad a lovely change to be in a home before continuing to Australia and New Zealand.

Although I had the luxury of being with Penny who is Singaporean, this country would be easily manageable without her help. Almost everyone speaks some degree of English and there is a wide range of dishes from around the world, making this one country you should definitely consider visiting if you're affected by severe allergy...and after all it is one of the top hospitals in the world should anything go wrong! 

Farewell Ollie :'(
So, what's this big development you ask? Well, after 4 long months of travelling together, my travel buddy Ollie has made the decision to return home to prepare for university. I've decided to keep going solo and have made even more exciting plans for my time in Australia. Don't expect me back any time soon England!

Let the adventure continue down under...

Stephen :)"

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Five simple new year’s resolutions that could save your life

While our weary traveller Stephen takes a break from blogging about all his amazing experiences and recovers from a New Year in Australia, we thought we'd kick off 2014 with some essential New Year's resolutions for anyone with a severe allergy of any kind; So here are some good old fashioned New Year’s resolutions that are easy peasy to do and could save your life...

2) Vow to become an adrenaline junky.

You don’t even have to jump out of a plane, swim with sharks or bungee jump to get your fix - all you got to do is carry your adrenaline auto-injector. Whether your doc’s prescribed you an EpiPen, Jext or Emerade device, just bloomin’ carry it! Why carry it you ask? Because it can’t save your life if it’s at home in that third box along on your top shelf or that drawer with all your other stuff in it, can it now? And while we’re on it, carrying it doesn’t just mean when you’re going out to eat or know you’re going to come face to face with your allergen(s), because the funny thing about allergens is they tend to crop up when you least expect it, rather than when you’re ready and waiting.

2) Remember to do your homework.

‘Cus everyone knows practice makes perfect. Learn how to use your adrenaline injector. The easiest way to do this is by watching our YouTubevideo but you can also read the instructions on the side of the device or go to your injector’s website formore information. Get yourself a trainer pen while you’re there – they’re free and if you’re anything like us, you can’t resist a bargain.
Spread the word and teach all your family, friends and even people in the street as who knows where and when you could need it. You could even do our AllergyWise online test if you really want to be top of the class. 

3) Use the force!

You’ve been given the force, now for god’s sake USE IT! (The force obviously being your adrenaline, that is).  Common misconceptions about adrenaline include:

Myth 1: It’s going to hurt or harm you in some way if you use adrenaline when it’s not needed
FALSE. Adrenaline is first and foremost a natural hormone and won’t harm you at all if you don’t need it. Did you know that in some countries they actually get children to inject themselves when they’re NOT having a reaction so they know what to do in an emergency?

Adrenaline injectors...they're just like light sabres.
Myth 2: You need to be on death’s door before you use your adrenaline auto-injector.
FALSE. You should ALWAYS use your adrenaline if in any doubt whether you need to or not. Some signs to look for if you need reassurance are:
-          Wheezing or finding it harder to breathe
-          Feeling faint, dizzy or super tired
-          Having difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough or your tongue is beginning to swell
If any of these appear in you, use your adrenaline immediately.

Myth 3: You have to go to hospital when you’ve used adrenaline because it’s dangerous for you.
Once again…FALSE! Well, you do always have to go to hospital once you’ve used your adrenaline, but it’s just so they can keep an eye on you, nothing else. Think about it, you’d have to go to hospital if you broke your arm, but you’d hardly be in mortal danger…duuuuh.

But remember, if in doubt, use the force…whoops, we mean your adrenaline!

4) Check your expiration date.

Just like you would check the milk before you slather your morning coco pops in it (okay bad example if you’re allergic to milk), check when your adrenaline ‘goes off’, or you could be in for an equally nasty surprise…no one likes milk chunky style.

An out-of-date injector may offer some protection, but this will be limited and sadly doesn't always do the job.

There are several free services available that will remind you when your adrenaline needs to be updated and even some apps that will do this for you from the comfort of your iPhone, so sign yourself up and make a vow never to let your adrenaline go past its best. 

Expiry reminder services:

5)  Support the Anaphylaxis Campaign!

…Oh come on you knew it was coming!
Get fit, go cold turkey, wear a wig or organise your veryown extra special event for us and we’ll be your very very bestest friend. (If you're feeling lazy, feel free just to make a one off donation!).

If you only make one real resolution that you stick to (on top of the 4 super important ones above!) vow to undertake one fundraising challenge for us in 2014. We’ve officially been supporting people with severe allergies for 20 years now and if you fancy giving a little back, check out how you can help us out here