Reflecting on 2017: The best bits and my yearly (GF/DF) favourites

Happy New Year everyone. Can you believe that 2018 has come round already?! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and are settling back into your normal routines! I spent the last week in Devon with my family drinking lots of  G&T’s and eating way too much leftover turkey and mince pies. It’s safe to say, my body is screaming at me to detox and get back to the gym so I’m using the whole ‘New Year’ thing to start this! It’s been so lovely having a couple of weeks off work and getting to spend time with my family, watching plenty of Christmas films, but unfortunately all good things come to an end and I’m back to getting up at 6:30am for work tomorrow.

So here goes, as you have probably already gathered from the title, this blog post will look back at 2017 and talk about my best bits, favourite gluten and dairy free products, places to eat out and more! Firstly, I have to start by talking about creating my Gluten Free Alice Instagram account, blog page and Twitter account in January 2017. To be honest, I started the page as a very spur of the moment thing and didn’t ever think I would make it to 100 followers, let alone over 6.5k! Posting all of my gluten and dairy free finds, recipes and meals has become a daily activity for me this year and I honestly love it!

My Instagram account has also allowed me to meet so many like minded people, and I have been very lucky to get to make some lovely friends too. It’s also allowed me to find out about different Free From events, which I had never heard of back in 2016. Throughout the year I have been to the London and Liverpool Allergy and Free From shows, Thrive Festival in Birmingham and the Free From Event in Bristol. Each of these shows allowed me to meet with fellow bloggers and Free From brands, which I loved! My favourite show had to be the London Allergy and Free From show, where I came home with a huge haul of Free From treats and I’m already excited for the 2018 show! Click here to read all about my experience at the London Allergy and Free From show.

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The Schar bus at the London Allergy and Free From Show 2017

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My huge Free From haul from the London Allergy and Free From Show 2017.

As well as Free From shows, I have also arranged to meet fellow Free From food bloggers throughout the year, including a trip to Leggero London (Click here to read about my trip to Leggero) with @dairyfreewithme, a trip to Niche London with @theglutenfreesuitcase and a trip to Pho with @Lifewithjade and @Glutenfreefrankie. If you don’t already, head over to follow them all on Instagram to see amazing Free From food options, or to just chat to some very lovely people!

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Gluten and Dairy free meal at Leggero London with @dairyfreewithme

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Meeting @theglutenfreesuitcase at Niche, London

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Lunch at Pho, Birmingham with @glutenfreefrankie and @lifewithjade

Stepping away from Free From events and meals, another highlight of my year was jetting off to Cape Verde for the week with my boyfriend and family. I was slightly apprehensive about the holiday at first, as I wasn’t sure how much of the food I would be able to eat. However, there were so many gluten and dairy free options available and I needn’t have worried! There were even gluten free bread rolls at breakfast which I was very surprised to see! Click here to read all about what I ate in Cape Verde. 

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An amazing holiday to Cape Verde

Another highlight of my year was heading to Brighton for the first time. I’m not sure why I had never been to Brighton before, but I honestly loved it and couldn’t believe how many Free From options  there were. Every road had numerous different gluten and dairy free cafes, restaurants and shops and I can’t wait to go back again soon to try more of the amazing food! Whilst there I had an delicious gluten free bagel, dairy free ice cream and numerous cakes, and left with a very  full tummy! Click here to read all about the gluten and dairy free food options I found in Brighton. 

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Gluten and dairy free bagel at Bagelman, Brighton

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Gluten and dairy free ice cream in Brighton

Other highlights of my year includes swinging around the trees at Go Ape with friends, heading to the Birmingham Christmas markets with my mum and sister, my recent Christmas week in Devon with the family, a trip to London and Winter Wonderland for my boyfriend’s birthday, the amazing and deep snow we had which resulted in a few days off work, my Mums 50th birthday weekend, a trip to the Cheltenham horse races for my birthday, working with Schar to create a gluten and dairy free buffet and to top it off, getting an amazing promotion at work. What a year it’s been!

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Christmas Day with my sister

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My delicious buffet with Schar

Now for my top gluten and dairy free products, eateries and recipes of 2017. 

Genius scotch pancakes: I absolutely love the gluten and dairy free scotch pancakes by Genius. They are so delicious and amazing topped with fresh fruit, yoghurt, peanut butter, syrup etc! I will definitely be continuing to buy these through 2018.

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My homemade pain au chocolats: I have to say, this was definitely one of my brighter ideas of 2017. As there are no gluten and dairy free pain au chocolats available to buy, I decided to make my own using the gluten free Jus Roll pastry rolled up with dairy free chocolate in the middle. Delicious!

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Livia’s Kitchen Biccy Boms: I had to mention Livia’s Kitchen Biccy boms, because they are my absolute favourite ‘healthy’ snack of 2017, mainly because they taste like chocolate. If you are yet to try the Biccy Boms, you really are missing out!

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Nan’s homemade cornish pasty’s: Over Christmas my Nan taught me how to make her famous gluten and dairy free cornish pasty’s using the Genius Puff Pastry and they taste just like the real thing! If you are interested in the recipe, Click here. 

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Asda chocolate yule log: One of my highlights of this year was working with Asda to promote their Free From Christmas range and in doing so, I was able to try the incredible Christmas Yule log. I’m already hoping that this product is back for next Christmas! Click here to read all about Asda’s Free From Christmas range. 

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Flat Iron Steak: Flat Iron Steak is an amazing steak restaurant located in Covent Garden, London. We visited for my boyfriend’s birthday and absolutely loved it, the steak was delicious and they were very knowledgable about gluten and dairy free options. A definite recommendation for eating out in London!

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Borough 22 doughnuts: How could I do this post without mentioning the amazing gluten free and vegan doughnuts by Borough 22? I have lost count of how many of these I have eaten throughout 2017, but I won’t be quitting any time soon and great news, they now sell them in Birmingham Selfridges too!

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My homemade lasagne: Can you believe that before 2017 I had never made a Lasagne before?! For some reason I thought it would be really difficult, but I have been loving using the Asda Free From white lasagne sauce and pasta sheets to layer up a delicious lasagne, which is definitely one of my favourite dinners at the moment!

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Tesco’s lemon meringue pie: I first spotted that Tesco were releasing a gluten and dairy free Lemon Meringue Pie at the Liverpool Allergy and Free From show and was very excited, click here to read all about my experience at the Liverpool Allergy and Free From Show. The pie is meant to serve 6 people, however it was so delicious, me and my boyfriend managed to eat the whole pie in 1 sitting!

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Nature’s Path granola: One thing that I have not been short of in 2017 is granola! I have tried so many different Free From versions and have always gone back to the same, Nature’s Path nice and nobbly pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins granola which can be found in the orange packet. The granola is the perfect crunchy consistency and has to get a mention!

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Deliciously Alchemy celebration cake: Deliciously Alchemy is one of my favourite Free From brands, so when I found out about their new gluten and dairy free celebration cake kit I was very excited. I made the cake for my Mums 50th birthday back in September and it was so quick, easy but tasted delicious! Click here to read my full review of the Celebration Cake Kit. 

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Violife, dairy free cheese: 2017 was the year that I went fully dairy free and one of the things I missed most was cheese. However, this Violife dairy free cheddar alternative has been a fantastic replacement and my favourite vegan cheese to date!

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Cafe Nero ham hock roll: I’m not normally a huge fan of gluten free pre made rolls, but the Cafe Nero Christmas ham hock roll was a tasty surprise! I have definitely lost count of the amount of times I picked this roll up on my lunch break and I’m hoping that it’s available next December!

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Kind bars: Another one of my top healthy snacks for 2017 were Kind bars. I was fortunate enough to be sent a couple of boxes of these to try and have been addicted ever since! Click here to read my full review of Kind bars and find out my favourite flavour.

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Nibsy’s, Reading: Nibsy’s is an entirely gluten free cafe based in Reading town centre which also serves plenty of dairy free options too. My boyfriends family live in Reading so whenever we go to visit, I make sure to take a trip to Nibsy’s. All of the sandwiches and cakes are delicious, especially the vegan doughnuts! Click here to read my full review of Nibsy’s. 

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Pip and Nut peanut butter: I had to mention my favourite peanut butter, because I drizzle it on top of everything! The Pip and Nut peanut butter if the perfect smooth consistency to drizzle over your porridge, toast, pudding etc! I will definitely be continuing to use this peanut butter throughout 2018!

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Newburn Bakehouse tiger bloomer: Now for my top gluten free bread pick, Newburn Bakehouse (Soon to be, Warbutons Gluten Free) Tiger Bloomer! If you haven’t tried this yet, you need to! Gluten free bread can be very hit or miss (mainly miss) but this is honestly the best I have tried to date. To read all about my top picks for gluten free bread, click here. 

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Yorica, London: Yorica is a Free From dessert shop based in London and serves a huge array of gluten free, dairy free and vegan ice creams, waffles, pancakes etc. I was amazed at how delicious the ice cream tasted and cannot wait to visit again! I topped my ice cream with an oreo style cookie and jammy dodger, yum!

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Zizzi’s chocolate torte: Up until recently, Zizzi’s was my favourite restaurant for gluten and dairy free food. However, after a recent experience where I was given the wrong pizza, I have been put off slightly! Saying this, I still have to put the chocolate torte in my favourites because it’s so blooming delicious! It’s very hard to find a dessert thats both gluten and dairy free when eating out, but this chocolate torte is made from dates and walnuts and is served with coconut dairy free ice cream! Yum.

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Frais, Shirley: A new favourite eatery of mine is a place called Frais Healthy Living which is located in Shirley, Solihull. Its full of amazing gluten and dairy free options, including these amazing waffles and is definitely the place to be if you are in the area.

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Desco Longue, Shirley: Another restaurant I have been loving recently is Desco Lounge which is also located in Shirley, but is part of a wider ‘Lounger’s’ chain that has a gluten free and vegan menu with plenty of options! My favourite option has to be the chicken, bacon and avocado burger in a gluten free bun.

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My homemade waffles: I was super happy to receive a waffle maker for my for my birthday last year, so I have been loving making waffles for dessert and had to give them a mention. They are so quick and easy to make but taste great, click here to see my gluten and dairy free waffle recipe.

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My French Toast recipe: Another favourite recipe of mine from 2017 has to be my homemade gluten free and vegan french toast which is perfect served with a homemade berry compote. Click here for my french toast recipe. 

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Beyond Bread, London: 2017 was the year I finally managed to visit the famous ‘Beyond Bread’ cafe in London which is entirely gluten free and specialises in pastries. Although not everything is dairy free too, I thoroughly enjoyed my falafel panini and blueberry muffin and can’t wait to visit again!

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My homemade sweet potato curry: Finally, my last favourite of the year has to be my homemade sweet potato, chick pea and spinach curry, which is an amazing gluten free, dairy free and vegan dinner for all the family to enjoy. Click here for my sweet potato curry recipe. 

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So there you have it, my 2017 favourites! It’s been a super busy year and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for me and my family!

I will leave you with my New Years Resolutions which I’m sure won’t last very long. but it’s worth a try!:

  1. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week (Original, I know!)
  2. Stop buying so much in the Free From Isle!
  3. Go food shopping once a week and don’t buy extras in between.
  4. No more than 1 coffee a day.
  5. Write at least 1 blog per week.
  6. Eat smaller portions.
  7. Stop snacking so much!

Alice x 

1 Comment

  1. January 3, 2018 / 10:53 pm

    Oh my! I always worried about travelling in the U.K. thinking there wouldn’t be many options for me to eat, but it seems like you have more options than I do! You’ve made me extremely hungry reading this list:)
    I love the blueberry kind bars! I try to limit myself to one new gf/df item each weekly shopping trip:)

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