My why

Hi & welcome to Gluten Free Little Cook,  

I’m Nicky, 50+ (how did I get there!), mum to two delightfully vibrant (occasionally stroppy) teen and pre-teen daughters Liv & Grace, who are my world.  I’m the IT, Finance & Creative Director of GFLC as well as being chief of everyday life in the house including kitchen, laundry & taxi services! 

I’ve spent my life so far organising me & others, in business & children. With redundancy in 2019 and everything else going on in our lives, it was time for something different.  It’s taken a little time to evolve, but we’re getting there.  Focusing more on helping parents adjust, helping with solutions and support.

But why are we here?  Because our lives changed forever in February 2018 when my youngest child was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease just after her 9th birthday.  I was expecting it to be diabetes – it tied in with so many more of her symptoms.  

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

How did I not know?

She’d been under the weather for some time, even years, but you couldn’t put your finger on it as to what causing the sore tummies, eye and ear infections, general lethargy and by the end of 2017, a thirst that was unquenchable not to mention the horrible yellowy grey colour she developed over the Christmas holidays.  Enough was enough.  We’d had more than our fair share of trips to the GP’s over the years but for the first time the GP suggested a blood test.  Three days later the call was in & our lives changed forever.  

She is my ‘why’ and the reason behind starting this in the first place.  From a cake business to kids baking kits and now to the books you can buy on Amazon or direct from me. 

I vaguely knew about the disease but until you live in the bubble of having a coeliac child you don’t understand the intricacies of it all

Managing a child with coeliac disease

Most people assume you just remove the cake/bread/pasta from your diet. It’s more than that.

Gluten is in many grains.  Cross contamination is a key feature (and yes, scares the heck out of you when you hear those words!).  I wanted to help those who have a shock diagnosis, as you are often left to your own devices. I didn’t know anyone else who had it.  

I felt as if the world had ended.  Why her?  I thought about all the things she couldn’t have. I cried for a week.  Then made the decision to help her and for her not to be excluded. The consultant’s words were still ringing in my ears “it’s the only disease that can be cured by diet alone”.

My research began, I Googled, read blogs, books and spoke with our dietitian, joined Facebook groups.  I decided that I would do my utter best so that she’d never miss out. 

Changing everything

All the food items in the house that she might eat were changed for gluten free versions including breakfast cereals & crisps, she had her own cupboard for safe snacks.  We learnt to tip not dip, have separate items for her e.g. butter/jams/Nutella (trust me, no one wants to share her Nutella jar anyway!).

I could already read labels well, I hate additives at the best of times, so I taught her what she had to look for too. 

Our home was now safe, especially for cross contamination as I set a designated area in the kitchen for any gluten prep as Liv still liked to have her toast and any GF items were then prepared on the other side of the kitchen, minimising cross contamination issues. 

But it wasn’t enough as I didn’t ever want my child to be excluded & left out.  You can’t just go to a restaurant any more, you have to research & plan to ensure that they cater for a coeliac diet.

Not missing out

Grace was excluded just once. 

And her tears that night broke my heart. She literally sobbed herself to sleep. I vowed she’d never miss out again nor would any other child with this disease.

In various Facebook groups you see so many parents say their children are missing out as the general market caters to adult tastes.  I could do something about this with my background & creative spirit.  In the first instance, I taught myself to bake totally gluten free – so all our normal family baking was now inclusive for her.  I didn’t have to worry about what I was putting on the table.  From gluten free birthday cakes, pasta & GF sourdough bread, anything is possible.  But let’s not mention the very first GF pizzas!  They went into the bin with the tins!! Surely it couldn’t be that hard. 

Cakes and beginning Gluten Free Little Cook

It’s been a journey to get here.  From a gluten free cake business, to kids baking kits, it’s now evolved into helping parents and kids learn what to do when they are diagnosed.  But it is always about being gluten free.

Now, I’ve written a book for parents, Coeliac Disease & your Child – What every parent needs to know.  Helping give them the knowledge and the tools you need to begin your gluten free coeliac journey.  Helping you to understand what you need to know and how to manage quickly and easily.  It has rave reviews online with Amazon

This year, February 2023, I published the book I’d have wanted for my daughter when she was diagnosed. The Coeliac Survival for Kids.  Teaching them easily what they need to know, in a fun and interactive way, giving them key phrases to learn and give them confidence when in unfamiliar circumstances or events.  It’s ok to say no, I can’t eat that, or ‘does it have gluten in it’.  They need to learn early on what they need to ask to keep themselves safe.  I’ve sold over 100 copies on Amazon alone this year and more in my book bundle direct from me.  Signed and everything.

Follow me on Instagram of Facebook, whichever you use most where I share more hints and tips to make your life easier.

Best wishes