Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

Everyday experiences with twins. The ups, downs and downright unexpected.

A Twinsmummy Award April 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 10:10 am
Tags: , , , , ,

About a week ago I was celebrating my ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ and now, chuffed to bits with that accolade, I find myself wanting to extend award season to another, and very different, recipient.

Step up….Le Meridien Al Aqah hotel.

Those lovely readers who have tracked our ups and downs for some time, will remember the nut near-misses during our holiday in Zighy Bay last November.

Following a few sharp intakes of breath there, regional getaways weren’t top of our list of fun, nut-free, activities.

However, as a result of over-indulgence in free cocktails at the parents’ ball, twinsdaddy felt it appropriate to bid at the auction for a 2 night stay at Le Meridien Al Aqah in Fujairah.

When questioned later, he explained that as I’d grinned at him from across the table as the auction started, he took this to mean, ‘secure this prize at all costs’, where in actual fact, a more likely message was, ‘I hope the food arrives soon as I’m a little tipsy’.

Convinced I was desperate to holiday in Fujairah, twinsdaddy enthusiastically secured the prize and with just a few weeks to go until the voucher expired, last weekend, we packed our bags and headed for the mountains.

We were more than a little concerned about how a large hotel would cope with the blonde’s allergy. After all, this is a large beach resort with over 200 rooms.

The Reservations staff had reassured us that everything would be fine, but we are now pre-conditioned to assume this means they won’t forcibly feed her peanuts, but any other nuts in any other form, in any of the eateries, is fair game.

How wrong could we be?

From the moment we checked in, we were given VIP status. Every member of staff in the place, and I really mean EVERY member of staff, was on the look out for us. We only had to set foot inside a restaurant before we were surrounded by men in white coats and hats offering to prepare anything that took the blonde’s fancy, in a specially segregated nut-free kitchen. It was remarkable.

We couldn’t find fault. And we’re really quite picky!

So, the inaugural twinsmummy award for ‘knock your socks off, we’re coming here again’ service levels goes to Le Meridien Al Aqah.

Next time we go, we might even relax!


Reality Bites… and it’s nut flavoured! November 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m starting to think that I may never achieve a state of total relaxation ever again. We arrived at Zighy Bay yesterday and having been welcomed with freshly squeezed juices, refreshing face towels and an army of helpers to carry our excessive amount of luggage, we headed en masse to our villa.

It all looked so promising. We’d been met by one of the hosts in reception to confirm that yes, they were fully aware of and prepared for the blonde’s unfortunate allergy. We were silently impressed. We hadn’t even uttered the ‘nut’ word on arrival, but instead planned to accost the chefs later in the day to work out what we could and couldn’t order from the menus.

However, as we entered our villa, my other half dropped his bag and lurched at a plate of suspicious looking biscuits that had ‘we contain nuts’ written all over them. They were perched on the coffee table within perfect grabbing distance of a peckish toddler and if it weren’t for his quick thinking, we’d have been arguing over which end of the epi-pen contains the needle mere seconds later.

A fuller inspection of the villa revealed a frightening number of nut polluted snacks. Some more easy to spot than others. There was the chocolate in the minibar with a picture of hazelnuts on the front, and muesli bars in the snack box. One was even named ‘Brazilian Nut Surprise’ and we can only hedge our bets that the surprise isn’t that there are no nuts in it!

Cue utter panic from twinsmummy who had been convinced that this break would be a doddle and that someone else would have done the worrying for us. We had clearly requested that there be no nuts or nut products anywhere in our accommodation but somehow, the message hadn’t registered.

We spent much of the next hour reiterating just how much of a problem this allergy is. I visited the kitchens, I spoke at length with our dedicated host and between us we banished all traces of nut from the villa. It became clear that whilst the information had been taken on board, no one had fully grasped the severity of the situation.

I think that maybe I’d been put in the ‘over-protective Mummy’ category so we spelt it out very slowly and very clearly. If the blonde eats a peanut, or possibly any other type of nut, it is highly likely that her skin will swell, along with her tongue, lips and throat, and that she could find it difficult to continue breathing. We’re not being dramatic, we just need to make sure we can guarantee a safe, nut-free environment for her.

I’ve had more than the occasional lower-lip wobble as I’ve explained this to a whole army of now highly attentive chefs, waiters and waitresses. I don’t want it to be the defining feature of our family, but the past 24 hours have shown that there is no way we can live the way we used to.

With the best will in the world, the only people who can guarantee the blonde’s safety are her nearest and dearest who can be constantly on their guard.

It may not be relaxing, but at least that way, we’ll never need to argue over how to use the epi-pen!


Does it have nuts in it? September 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 2:50 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I have a new mantra. “Does it have nuts in it?”.

This week, following two fairly gruelling sessions at the hospital, it has been officially declared. The blonde has a severe allergy to nuts. We’d been playing it down since the peanut butter incident, but we can’t argue with the facts. Or the consequences. The reality is we can’t take the risk of exposing her to any type of nut.

We are now armed with epi-pens, leaflets, videos to watch, websites to visit and lots of advice from people who know other children with allergies. Some of it more helpful than others, it has to be said.

The consultant’s advice was the most frightening, stating that “many families in the same situation take a decision to never eat outside the home”. It took a moment for me to register exactly what he was suggesting. No lunches and barbecues at friends’ houses? No family lunches at Carluccio’s? No cheeky little muffin with a hot chocolate at Caffe Nero? Surely he couldn’t be serious?

He also advised we rid our home of all nuts and any item showing that utterly useless disclaimer, “This product may contain nuts or traces of nuts”. The chances are it doesn’t contain nuts, has never been near a nut, couldn’t identify a nut if one jumped up and cracked its shell over its packaging, but dare we take the risk?

We were told that we need to consider all our holiday plans and inform any hotel or airline of the blonde’s predicament before we travel. We have to brief all close friends and relatives who spend any amount of time with the blonde and the brunette and help them understand the severity of the situation so there can be no chance of an accident.

Perhaps the most tricky is educating big brother without scaring him witless. The last thing I need is any increase in the middle of the night visits as a result of bad dreams about axe-wielding peanuts.

Having had a few days to ponder these adjustments, I was just starting to get used to the idea when we were invited to a friend’s house for our weekly coffee and baby meet. I normally take a few snacks to keep my two quiet, but the blonde has always been of the opinion that other people’s snacks are far more interesting, and invariably without waiting to be offered, she helps herself to anything she can lay her hands on.

My friend had already sussed that mini chocolate croissants were a nut-free naughty that could be offered to small people if required and that all other snacks were to be kept out of reach, as neither of us know whether a whole wheat Cheerio is in fact, a peanut in disguise.

The morning passed without incident, but there were no other toddlers present. What will it be like in a packed party environment, or a play zone with dozens of other children? I’ve always been very relaxed about my children eating anything that is offered to them but that can no longer be the case. Every label must be read. Every offer of any nibble needs to be questioned and the snack vetted for suitability.

Today I stood for 10 minutes to find out if a cinnamon roll had been polluted with any form of nut. It took three people to understand what I was asking, before a fourth volunteered to go and ask the chef. For a brief moment, the idea of never eating outside our home, seemed to make sense.

I do hope she grows out of it.