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21stcenturyfox

21stcenturyfox
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Member since: 21.05.2002

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      17.05.2004 18:41
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      Hi, There have been a cacophony of problems with 3, I'll bullet point the major flaws and the include the main meat of a letter I had to send them recently (still unresolved). * the mobile phones are the size of hosue bricks and have similar functionality * the call centre is in India, while the call handler's have English which far surpasses my Indian they don't understand the nuances and weirdness of english, nor cope very well with place names, makes for very uncomfortable and unhelpful calls * The service is, at best, sporadic, I'd say from September until January I had about 50% coverage, despite the maps they show you. * Since I got my replacement phone in April I have had 1% use (it worked for 5 minutes in total) * My phone was stolen (idiot thief, should've nicked the person next to me's - there's was a nokia!) and I was left £70 out of pocket, without a phone for 3 months and I HAD INSURANCE!! * Phone queues have been upwards of 30 minutes (national rate) * I have changed my tariff 3 times yet am still being charged the highest one I urge anybody who is considering it DO NOT TAKE OUT A CONTRACT WITH 3. Sadly I really wanted to support the new company, thought it was a great idea and now feel very naive. I will include below my recent letter, it sums up the situation better than I can now in my ranting state! "I am writing to complain at the appalling service I received from your company. As a result of this service, and 3?s breaking of the agreed contract by not providing the service I had paid for, I am also cancelling my contract with immediate effect. Where to start? I have experienced constant service interruptions since I took out the contract in September 2003. For hours at an end my phone has not been able to call out. This is bad enough, but the worse was yet to come. I was unfortunate enough to have
      my handset stolen while en route to my boss? house. The phone was stolen (I believe) at the bus stop in xxxxx Birmingham at approximately 7.15 am. I did not realise until I reached New Street Station, Birmingham that my phone had been stolen, this was now 8.15am. I attempted to use the public telephone in the station but my money ran out (£2.00) before anybody had answered my call on your customer services line. Eventually (10.30am) I arrived at my boss?s house in Gloucestershire. Of course I immediately called 3 and after waiting for over 10 mins was able to report my handset stolen. I was told that the phone would no longer be usable but that I must report the handset stolen and get a reference number and address from the local police within 24 hours. I arrived back in the local area at around 7pm that night and telephoned the local police station. I reported the crime and received the reference number. I then telephoned 3 and had a very difficult conversation (the person I was speaking to did not speak good English and particularly struggled with the local names) this was a very difficult and unreassuring telephone call coming at the end of an awful day. I gave the man on the line all the details I had and was told that to process the insurance claim I must pay £40. I did not have £40. I was advised I had to call back when I had this available. I did so 6 weeks later (I am on a very tight budget and did not know I would have to pay £40 just to have my claim looked at). During this period I was also charged nearly £30 of charges to cover phone calls made by the thief before the calls were stopped, when I called to complain about this (wasting more money on your expense phone lines) I was asked, quite rudely, ?did you not have a phone to report it?? of course I didn?t it had been stolen!!! During the same call I asked to change my tariff to the 500 minutes £25 a month one. I was told this had been done but I would need to call back when I receive
      d my phone and check this had actually been done ? why?! Why couldn?t it be done right in the first place? Why should I have to rack up more of a phone bill checking that incompetent staff had done the jobs your customers are paying for?! This still has not been changed. The whole time I was being charged line rental. When I called to give my payment details I had to give all the police station details again, despite being told by the last operative that these were all on my file and I needn?t provide them again. So I had to find them again ? more inconvenience ? and pay £40 ? more expense. I was told it would take a week to process my claim and I would need to call back to find out the outcome ? more inconvenience and expense. I called back in a week and was told the handset would be with me in 7 days. Over ten days later it had still not arrived. I sent, in total, 15 emails to your support address, all were ignored. I called (more waiting, inconvenience and expense) and was told that there was a hold up with the handset and it was on order. I asked why my emails had been ignored and the person I spoke to refused to acknowledge there was an email address let alone a department. He said the department was closed and he could not ask them why they hadn?t dealt with my emails and then refused to confirm that there was any department after all! During this call I was kept on hold for over 10 minutes with the explanation that the computers were slow (not my fault)! At further expense! Finally, after one more call, the phone arrived. By now it was April. The phone had been stolen in January. I had paid a huge amount of money for a service that was a) awful when it was available to me and b) not available from mid-January until now. I followed all the instructions and inserted my sim card. It did not work. More calls ensued. I was asked if I could take the phone to a 3 shop. No! Not only had I wasted enough of my time and money on this useless service bu
      t I have two young children and no nearby 3 shop, in fact I didn?t even know such a thing existed. I was told, basically, to turn it off and turn it on again. I was brushed off. I tried what was advised and it didn?t work. I took the phone on a walk around all the places it had sporadically worked before it was stolen. It did not work. I called back tonight at 8.40pm (20th April 2004) after dealing with the message system and waiting in a queue I was then cut off (after 6 minutes). I called back and exactly the same happened again after 7 minutes. This was the final straw. The service is despicable. The staff are incompetent. The national rate number (and the eagerness of the staff for us to use it) is extortionate. I have simply not received the service I paid for. I have received little service at all. I cannot even get through to speak to someone about it! I cancel my contract now. I will not be throwing any more of my time or money down the drain. I would appreciate a response to this letter but judging by my experience of your company I will not be getting one. Or I may get a letter 3 months letter, which I am charged for and is broken. Who knows? I will be urging anyone and everyone not to use your service."

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      • Music / Discussion / 0 Readings / 21 Ratings
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        01.08.2003 20:37
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        Music Challenge: 1) favourite last dance smoochie True ? Spandeau Ballet 2) best cover version Well, I?m a bit terrible for this because I like my own bed, I like my own tap water, I like what I know! So for that reason generally it takes a really special cover version for me to prefer it? I?d say either Tainted Love by Soft Cell or Killing Me Softly by Fugees 3) worst cover version. Now for this category there are a flurry of contenders! I would say the cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit by (I believe) Abigail, which was released soon after Kurt Cobain?s death was tasteless in every way. 4) best male vocal I love David Bowie, so distinctive, flawed but in a charming way! 5) Best Female Vocal. I love big soul voices, Aretha Franklin, Aleisha Keyes? oh lordy, there are tonnes! 6) Best Duo + / Group . To my mind it?s between The Doors, The Rolling Stones or Led Zep but I feel like I?m turning my back on gadzillions of worthy contenders and am having to deal with guilt!! 7) Most memorable Song. The Seeds of Love ? Tears For Fears, it was the first time in my childhood when a song truly helped take me away from a sad situation and I cherish it. 8) Your Song . I Am The Resurrection ? The stone Roses, it?s perfect in every way!! 9) Best Female Vocal Performance Falling, Aleisha Keyes, my eyes well up just thinking about it (stupid girl!) 10) Best Male Vocal Performance. Freddy Mercury gave great performance time and again, people seem to look back at him and Queen as a kind of rock-shock-drag-act and that?s so unfair, FM was a supreme performer. 11) Most Poignant Song. Diamonds In The Mine ? Leonard Cohen, it?s the epitome of rage and so irresistible. 12) All Time Favourite Album Led Zeppelin 3, The Doors ? The Doors, Beatles ? White Album, L
        eftfield ? Leftism, oh god, the guilt is rising again, there are so many!!! 13) Best Music Video Mixie Jackson?s Thriller, it redefined what a music video could be. 14) Best Act Ever Well I saw Madness the other day and they were great, I saw Travis when they were just starting out and they filled the room with happiness (!) and if I could go back in time and see anyone it would be Jimi Hendrix, maybe at the Isle of Wight festival. 15) Best TV / Film musical piece . Suicide is Painless, theme from M*A*S*H* 16) Best personal computer ( any ) music software. god knows, sorry!

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          01.08.2003 19:40
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          Okay, I'll 'fess up. I have tried (in my 23 years) some tens upon tens of diet and weight loss attempts. They have ranged from the ridiculous in my teens (e.g. making myself cold so I'd burn more fat keeping warm - well done!) to the complicated (combination diets? blood type diets? calorie counting?) to the sensible (Slimming World, which did work but takes a little planning and me and planning go together like, well, me and dieting?) but now I think I've got it sussed. I'm not on a diet. I don't go to the gym (no time or money!). But I am losing weight and I am getting healthier and fitter? how? Little Steps! I don't have the energy, time or inclination to worry, fuss and think too hard about eating certain things and scheduling keeping fit. But I do want to lose the excess flab left over from my pregnancies, I do want to look at my peak in December for all the crimbo parties rather than wobble about trussed up like one of those Hippos from the yoghurt adverts of the '80s and I do want to be reasonably fit and healthy because I think, as a parent, I have a duty to set a sensible example to my kids and try and maintain my health so I'm here for them for as long as possible. I looked at my life, my budget, my free time (hah!), my goals and I realised that the best way forward would just be too make simple little changes, changes that I wouldn't have to plan too much or worry over? I haven't radically changed what I eat but whereas before if I was offered biscuits at someone's house I?d have two, I now have one. No massive change but over the months we're talking a fair few calories. If I want a drink I have fizzy water instead of chemical-loaded fizzy drinks. If I have a big salad now, whereas we used to have goats cheese, peppers, lettuce, bacon etc? we leave off the bacon or the goats cheese, it's still super-tasty with either but it's that little bit better f
          or you. We still have naughty food at the weekend, but either Friday or Saturday but not both. That's hardly a huge sacrifice, the boyfriend doesn't mind too much and it saves us money. Instead of cracking into a bottle of wine and having a few glasses of an evening and then a big splurge at the weekend I stop, think and generally have a cup of tea instead (and a big spurge every other weekend or less) not really punishment and normally a cuppa perks me up more than wine ever could. Talking of tea? if you can bare the taste (and I actually quite like it) have green tea instead of PG tips. It helps keep your metabolism ticking over and is said to have great antitoxidants, if you have coffee than at least opt for normal tea instead as that still has antioxidants in it. Semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat, I personally prefer it. Do you really need two slices of toast in the morning, why not one slice and a low fat yoghurt or banana? All tiny changes, just stop and think before reaching for a snack, am I really hungry or is it thirst? Have a big glass of water (or sugar-free squash) and then re-assess, if you?re hungry than have that snack but if possible choose low fat crisps over full fat, or better still twiglets, or even better fresh fruit? I don't go to the gym as I previously said, I don't have time! But I walk a couple more stops before catching the bus, we go for a big family walk at the weekend which always clears the cobwebs. No matter how much you don't fancy going, I always feel better for it. I cycle to catch the train to work rather than catch a bus and it's quicker and more reliable! If a song comes on the radio that I like, I dance to it, my children join in and it?s fun, but it also helps the fitness and weight loss. You may look odd if you do it in Topshop but who cares?! Do you know anyone? All I'm saying is that if you can?t face a strict diet, you can't stick to a regime
          , rather th an procrastinate and worry just make some simple changes, just stop and think and you'll feel and look better for it! A couple of quick ideas: *Forget ice cream get frozen yoghurt, still a treat *Forget white bread get brown, or at least Mighty White! *Replace tea with green tea *Fizzy flavoured water instead of fizzy drinks *Big drink instead of snack, chances are you?re thirsty, the body does get confused on this one! *Cottage cheese instead of cheddar *One less side dish with your take away *One less drink when you go out (you know that last one is always the culprit!) *Walk to the shops when possible *French dressing (esp. home made) instead of ceaser but better still use balsamic vinegar and lemon ? really nice! *Try one big walk a week *Stir in low fat soft cheese (e.g. light Philadelphia) instead of oily stir in pasta sauce. *A lovely baked potato with margarine instead of roast potatoes, you won?t feel so stodgy. *try and have a salad with your lunch, you?re less likely to have a pudding and you won?t get that guilty feeling! *Try and get at least 5 fruit portions a day, this will help you keep a healthy heart but will replace naughty snacks easily, and you can include portions of fruit juice so it?s not really that hard! *If anything feels like punishment, don?t bother ? you won?t keep it up! Take little steps that you can cope with and maintain. UPDATE***WELL, I'M NOT STICK THIN YET (HA! AS IF!) BUT I DO FEEL HEALTHIER AND TRIMMER, THE MAIN THING I'VE NOTICED IS I CAN CONCENTRATE BETTER AND I ACTUALLY THINK THIS IS BECAUSE I'M DRINKING SO MUCH MORE WATER - APPARENTLY ITS CONNECTED I HAVEN'T GONE MAD!*** *** and now a few months down the line I'm still losing weight, slowly but surely, I am a comfortable size 12 and and no point feel like I'm punishing myself***

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            17.07.2003 21:48
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            I?m on about Body Brushing! This really truly is one of my new favourite obsessions. It keeps my coat glossy (well, my skin), it makes me feel healthier, lose a smidgeon of cellulite (it?s a big old surface to ?scratch? but we?re getting there!) and it comes at my faaaaaaaavourite bargain price ? free (small print: you may have to buy a brush?)! Apparently our grot and gunge-fuelled diets, water, air, everything-pollution, chemicalised waters, super-shiny-sprayed-on-tampered-with fruit and veg and all the other trappings of modernity we live amongst are making us unhealthy and ill. Yeah, yeah, no massive scoop there I know! But although it seems pretty much an uphill, unwinnable battle to stop or even wind back these situations (and if I think long and hard there are benefits to modernity which I?m really not sure my soft-city self could cope with losing) so I?ll settle for doing a few small and easy every day things to at least help undo *some* of the damage! With all this cr*p making its way into our systems through the air, food etc? we need to get better at getting it out, and before this descends to crudities (or are they starters?!) I don?t just mean in the obvious ways. While drinking more water helps flush out the system there is a large area we forget ? our skin! Apparently our skin can excrete over 2lbs of waste a day and if we don?t make sure our skin is tip top ready to get rid of this efficiently then it hangs around. Yuk. And in hanging around our unhealthy skin gets more clogged up and effectively we?re suffocating it. A tad dramatic perhaps but it?s very simple and easy to remedy? As http://www.coffee-enema.co.uk/ say ?Dry skin brushing is a simple, inexpensive way of removing the waste from the skin and breaking down old toxic deposits through it's unique action on the lymph vessels and capillaries? Our bodies make a new top layer of skin every day and by brushing we remove the skanky old layer a
            nd allow the new layer to come to the surface. A little like snakes, but we look less dignified than they do, shimmying out of their skins. You will probably feel like a total plum brushing your body with a dry brush (especially a massive wooden one like the one I purchased) but it?s worth it. (Try not to get caught though, my 23-month old daughter found me brushing my own arm the other day, ran off shrieking and then re-appeared with her Barbie comb brushing her knee!) Use long and firm strokes in the direction of the heart (i.e. mimicking blood flow) brush all the skin (unless it is sore or broken) and if possible do it just before a bath or shower. The first few times it?s a little uncomfortable, some of the softer areas like the inside of the thighs and arms and the tummy may feel a little raw but it gets almost instantly easier. The hard and dry areas like knees and elbows can take as much as you can give. There are key areas with specific benefits for example the soles of the feet and palms of the hands which can help kick start the whole system. I?m no expert and wouldn?t like to pretend I am so to really find out about the science behind this and the correct procedures I would recommend buying a book on the subject. I ?brush? daily, normally when I get out of bed, just a quick once over using the above method and I always do a good old brush just before a soak in the tub. It sounds a bit mad but just as you feel horrible and mucky if your teeth are not brushed as usual, you do start to ?crave? a brush. Not in an addiction type of way just that you know you feel better for a brush and therefore notice when you don?t have one. Getting hold of a brush is easy. While some shops and sites (e.g. www.coffee-enema.co.uk) sell special brushes you can easily use a big ole wooden scrubbing brush that you can pick up anywhere. The purists out there would probably shriek at the suggestion but it works well enough
            for me.

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              03.12.2002 02:21
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              I?ll give you a little background on us as a family ? I am 22, my Fiancé is 23 and we have a 16 month old daughter and a month old son. Ben stays at home and brings up our children and I work therefore we have one wage coming in and a small spattering of tax credits. We?ve had the odd credit hiccup as most young couples do but eventually we managed to get a mortgage albeit it only in my name as I?m the only wage earner. Great, so we had a mortgage arranged, now we could buy ourselves a buff new abode in which to bring up our beloved progeny. Except that because we only have one wage coming in and a car on finance we are only about to borrow up to a measly £42,000, whoopee, static home in the wilds of Scotland here we come! This is where Shared Ownership (SO) comes in? The basic idea (although it varies depending on the area and the Housing Associations involved) is that buyers (providing they meet certain criteria) own a percentage of the property and the rest is owned by a Housing Association (HA). I believe the most common ratio is a 50:50 split, which is the situation in our case. The HA charges a reduced rent for the ?use? of their percentage (this is normally very reasonable and cheaper than a mortgage on the same value ?chunk?). In other words we get to live in a nice, 3 bedroom house worth £78,000 (more now) which was built to good standards and has all mod cons but we only had to find a mortgage of £39,000 and pay an additional £160.00 rent each month. With many schemes you have the option of buying additional % either in 10% or 25% chunks when you have more funds available, this is known as ?staircasing? and you could end up owning the whole house. As you increase your share, naturally the rent payable to the HA is reduced. Some HAs operate slightly different schemes in which you find a suitable property on the market, providing it meets certain criteria (state of repair, resell value etc?). The HA then buys a chunk and you bu
              y the rest, in essence the same scheme but you are not dependent on waiting for an existing SO property to become available. HOW DO YOU FIND SUCH PROPERTIES? Shared Ownership properties are like gold dust, there aren?t a great deal of them out there and as first time buyers are increasingly priced out of the market they are sought after more and more. It is not the case for all Housing Associations (HAs) but often when an owner wishes to sell their share and move on they must first notify the HA of their intentions to sell, the HA hold a waiting list of interested parties who will be offered any available properties before the owner can put them on the general market. (Hope this is making sense so far, this is a little fiddly!). To get on such a list you should contact local HA and ask for an application form, acceptance will be based on various criteria that vary from area to area (more about this further on). To find your local HA try searching on www.yell.com or contact the local council). There are various ways of finding shared ownership properties on the web, by far the most trustworthy dedicated search facility that I have found is on www.homes.org.uk a shared ownership information site). Properties do find their way onto the general housing market so it?s always worth registering your interest with local Estate Agents, although in my experience it?s best to keep checking the local property pages as well). Again the web is a useful tool, particularly if you are searching in a different area to that which you currently live in (as we did). www.rightmove.co.uk and www.asserta.co.uk are particularly good, search for the type of property you wish to buy in the area you wish to buy it but search for the amount you can afford to pay rather than the total value of the property and any SO properties should turn up in your search results. WHO CAN BUY A SHARED OWNERSHIP PROPERTY? Well, as I mentioned earlier HAs h
              ave differing criteria so it always worth making an early enquiry call but as a general guide the following details are taken into account ? · Applicant?s income ? while you must be able to afford the mortgage repayments and the rent, you cannot earn so much that you could afford to buy 100% of the property. · Dependents ? the more dependents you have (and this can often include adults who do not contribute income i.e. full time carers) affects the income you are allowed to bring home and still qualify. · You must not already own a property; the idea is for first time buyers to be able to buy homes. · Some HAs will ask for proof that you currently live or work in the area you wish to buy in or have a connection with the areas e.g. family living nearby, many don?t though, ours didn?t and we were able to move from Devon to Birmingham ?no questions asked?! OTHER QUESTIONS: ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAIRS? Generally speaking you are responsible for keeping the property in a good state of repair, servicing any systems and tending to the garden if there is one. If the property is under 10 years old it should be covered by usual building guarantees. Your lease will include details of your maintenance responsibilities. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? From finding our property and making an offer to moving in took about 2 months, we had arranged a mortgage in principle already which helped speed things up. Generally it will take between 6 ? 12 weeks and will be affected by any upwards ?chain? of buyers as with ordinary purchases. CAN I IMPROVE MY HOME? You can decorate as you would any property you own but any alterations must be approved by the HA and, in many cases, your mortgage lender. Exactly what constitutes an alteration as opposed to decoration will be stipulated by the HA but as a general rule of thumb you mustn?t make structural changes without permission, ma
              inly because it could affect both the building insurance and the value of the property. AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR INSURING THE PROPERTY? As with most rental and owned property you are responsible for your contents insurance. Often the HA will hold a buildings insurance policy on the whole property but always confirm this. WILL I GET A MORTGAGE ON AN SO PROPERTY? Yes, many lenders will accept SO property purchases, but the number of mortgages products available will be less than for ordinary home purchases. It is very hard, but not impossible, to get a 100% mortgage on a SO property (we managed it but the mortgage we were approved was the ONLY ONE available in the UK at that point in time so it was touch and go). You might find that lenders ask for more information about the property than normal but if you use a solicitor that has experience of SO this shouldn?t cause any problems. We found that using a broker to find us a mortgage was the easiest and most cost effective way. We used Just Mortgages (www.just-mortgages.co.uk). AM I STUCK IN SHARED OWNERSHIP PROPERTIES FOREVER? Not at all! As I explained earlier SO properties are like gold dust so it?s unlikely you?ll have any trouble selling your property. We intend to live until my salary increases to a point where we can get a larger mortgage, sell our 50% chunk on and use any equity as a deposit on our next home. All in all shared ownership has enabled us to buy a well built, comfortable home in a nice area at a price we can afford, and I would seriously recommend the scheme to anybody in the same situation.

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                28.08.2002 03:25
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                SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP!SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP!

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                • Exeter in general / Destination National / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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                  14.08.2002 07:51
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                  SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP!SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP! SORRY I AM DELETING THIS OP!

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                  • Top 10 Singles / Discussion / 0 Readings / 47 Ratings
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                    16.07.2002 21:47
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                    My life, this is difficult! Me and me-laddio tried to do our top ten songs the other night and ending up staying up until 3am and expanding it to top 100. I think I’ve whittled it down now… 1) Up The Junction – Squeeze A tale of drinking, young love, and cocking everything up… This song still takes me back to the promise of an old relationship that sadly got mucked up somewhere along the line, although I’m very, very happy with my partner I’m still sad that I obliterated this old friendship, not strictly the same scenario in the song but certainly the same sentiment. Squeeze, perhaps better know for Cool For Cats, didn’t always strike musical gold, they certainly churned out a fair bit of dross, but when they got it right (thanks in no small part to the ridiculously talented Jools Holland) they really got it right. You can hear this on their ‘best of’ album Big Squeeze. 2) Motorcycle Emptiness – Manic Street Preachers This song, and the band’s incarnation at the time, were just brilliant. Worth ten of their post-Richie, post-thin songs. If you are new to the Manics it is perhaps worth seeing them as two distinct groups rather than one, the with-Richie group and post-Richie. The post-Richie group (Everything Must Go onwards), while foot-tappingly enjoyable are the swollen, aging, comfortables that pre-Richie Manics would have sneered at. Motorcycle Emptiness was, in my opinion, the best song from the anarchic album Generation Terrorists, while not the most musically accomplished, and perhaps over-long, this raw album and more specifically Motorcycle Emptiness just screams with pent up aggression, passion, frustration and beauty. 3) Moonage Daydream – David Bowie. The man is a legend, he’s nearly 60 and I’d still do him. Moonage Daydream is a short, glittery, sexual predator of a ditty, nestling comfortably on the albu
                    m (in my opinion still to be bettered) Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars. It’s extremely hard to choose between Bowie songs, so many are so powerful, lovable and wickedly well written but this is the one that causes the biggest fire in my belly in the shortest space of time! 4) How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths (although I could have chosen about 10 and had to employ a catch a tigger approach) Angst-ridden, comedic and nostalgic, the lyrics still speak to the 17-year old inside me (not a literal manifestation, that would be dangerous). From the infamous album Hatful of Hollow, How Soon Is Now? is just thoroughly well-written and well-played. 5) Hello – Lionel Richie This song makes me want to cry (okay, okay, does make me cry), it’s music for falling in love to, most definitely a “first dance with the bride” type song. Lionel Richie has a wonderful voice, and while his recent Richie-go-disco moves haven’t been the most credible, at his peak he performed some of the most melancholy and beautiful music around. The accompanying pop video was wrong in every way though, a blind girl fashioning a great big clay Lionel head… 6) Sweet Surrender – Tim Buckley Sorry but, in my humble opinion, infinitely better than his similarly dead son Jeff. One of the most soulful, sexy songs in the world. He’s long dead but this song still seems so current and accessible. Tim Buckley was way ahead of his time, his life was tragically cut short around the same age as his late son’s, adding to the mysticism that surrounds the Buckley family tree. From the album Greetings From LA. 7) Tangerine – Led Zepplin Many moons ago, a young wide-eyed 21stcenturyfox started secretly poring over her mother’s dusty record collection, it would set her on a journey, nay a habit, that would cost lots of hard-earned cash, lots of roo
                    m space, and lots of arguments with Europop-obsessed-little-blighters. The early excavations from my mum’s collection introduced me to Bowie, The Doors, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and these guys, Led Zepplin, a port in a Whigfield storm. While there are many Led Zepplin songs that deserve a place in the top ten, Tangerine was my favourite “Tangerine, Tangerine, living reflection of a dream…” one part psychedelic, one part rock, one part folk and lots of herbs and spices, Tangerine is just lovely, as is the whole album it resides on- Led Zepplin 3. 8) Town Called Malice – The Jam An ode to crap people from a crap town, I’m sure we can all think of a contender. I believe Paul Weller hails from Woking and I can only assume this is the town to which he refers, and anyone who has been to Woking will surely applaud, or at least nod sagely. (Although I have a lovely friend who resides in Woking so I know it's not all bad!) Paul Weller seems to experience brilliance in fits and starts… The Jam = brilliance, Style Council = not so, Wild Wood/Stanley Road solo career = brilliance, monkey haircut and sniffing around Oasis = not so. 9) Teenage Kicks – The Undertones Now, I wasn’t strictly a teenager when this came out, in fact “In Utero Kicks” would have been a more apt title for my lifestage, but this is timeless, the whining voice, the lyrics “I need excitement, oh I need it bad”, the frenetic pace. An absolute diamond of a tune, which leads me neatly onto… 10) Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd Written as homage to reclusive ex-member Syd Barratt, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (or about a million separate ‘parts’ in a Jean Michelle Jarre style!) make up a large part of the brilliant album Wish You Were Here, which I believe was released around 1973 i.e. pre-inflatable hogs, law suits and choruses of child
                    ren. There can be no denying that Pink Floyd became fat, rich shadows of their former selves, but you shouldn’t discount them on those grounds. A hugely indulgent guitar introduction, remorseful and touching lyrics and fantastic fret-w*nkery. As my helpful beau suggests “It’s Courtney Pine versus Santana covering the music from The Boy Who Lost His Laugh”. Wow! that was hard! There are so many more I could have mentioned – The Clash, The Stooges, Velvet Underground, The Beatles, The Small Faces, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, The Pretenders, REM, The Manics, Suede, Buzzcocks, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Portishead, Massive Attack, The Stone Roses... – oh whoops, mentioned them after all!

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                      27.06.2002 21:08
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                      Anti-drugs protesters don’t help themselves. The cynical mind may question how a movement can be taken seriously when they lump heroin in with Cannabis, talk adamantly about Cannabis as a gateway drug (when recent Observer polls suggest that 83% of drug users take Cannabis opposed to 4% who take heroin), and signify all drug use with a hypodermic needle? Perhaps they forget just how drugs savvy your average teenager is. In fact nearly 30% of the British population have used Cannabis, (a conservative figure). Before we launch into a debate, let’s start at the beginning. Cannabis is a class B drug; this is an area of confusion and plans are afoot to lower the classification to C, a move which will soften the penalties attached to Cannabis-related crimes. Cannabis comes in three main forms, the strongest is Hashish. The Observer, 21st April 2002 says Cannabis has “mildly sedative, euphoric effects… (inducing) feelings of relaxation, sociability, hilarity or moments of introspection.”. Physically, pulse rate increases, blood pressure drops, and dry mouth, slight analgesia, and dizziness can all occur. Some studies have shown a decrease in male testosterone levels if use is persistent. Long-term effects can include lung cancer and bronchitis. Heavy users may (that’s may, not will) become apathetic, lethargic and short of attention and use can detrimentally affect the functions of the Immune System. Cannabis smoking shares dangers with tobacco for example smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of your children suffering from Leukaemia, low birth weight and other abnormalities. Frighteningly, studies have suggested that HIV sufferers who use Cannabis may find their condition develops to full-blown AIDS twice as fast as non-users, HIV-suffering Cannabis users are also more likely to develop pneumonia than non-users. Other potential problems include cancer (of the lungs, mouth, lip and tongue), me
                      ntal disorders, such as panic attacks, schizophrenia, depression, hallucinations, paranoia, hostility, depersonalisation and more, interestingly and paradoxically the above list contains many of the conditions Cannabis is said to ease. This kind of contradictory evidence sums up the difficulties of the Cannabis debate, much of the evidence can be interpreted to suit either side’s views. Unlike many man-made narcotics, the twentieth century did not invent Cannabis or use it first (although it did popularise talk of “drug abuse”); Cannabis has had a place in many societies and through many different eras. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures used Cannabis for it’s medicinal qualities, closer to home Hampstead Heath and Hempnall are named after Cannabis and last century a prison workhouse was commended for it’s profitable Cannabis business, highly ironic considering recent panics concerning drug abuse in UK prisons. The legal arguments surrounding Cannabis stem around two main possibilities for change: the legalisation or decriminalisation of Cannabis. Legalisation and decriminalisation are two terms that are constantly bandied around and often confused and it is important to clarify them. Legalisation of Cannabis would mean that the drug is available legally, as Alcohol and Tobacco are. Decriminalisation would mean that although technically Cannabis would be a prohibited drug, punishment, under certain circumstances such as possession of small amounts for personal use, would not be applied. Police may still react to violation of drug laws but the Council for the prosecution and the Court of Justice thereafter may withdraw the charge. A pre-cursor to this kind of legal move was tried in the Brixton area of London in 2001, where a pilot scheme of tolerance (those caught with small amounts for personal use were not arrested) was declared a success by the Government. Police resources could be deployed in other way
                      s and, it was suggested, Brixton did not become a drugs haven. There are also reported benefits, The Observer 21st April 2002 suggests Cannabis may ease the suffering caused by Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Anorexia, Migraines, Epilepsy, Spinal Injuries, Convulsive and Mood Disorders and, surprisingly, asthma. The legalisation of Cannabis would enable sufferers of the above ailments to grow their own medicine at home, something that would greatly benefit both the patients and a struggling NHS and be of great disadvantage to the pharmaceutical industry. The dangerous Drugs Act 1928 banned the use of Cannabis (alongside Heroin, Opium and Cocaine) except for medical purposes, suggesting at least perceived medical benefits although, controversially, many reports have discounted and ruled out any medical benefits. An example of this was the UN Single Drug Convention 1961 where Cannabis was officially denied to have any therapeutic benefits. The Dangerous Drug Act 1971 continued the UN’s 1961 stance and withdrew Cannabis as a medicine. There are other uses for Cannabis aside from its narcotic properties. Cannabis fibres can be used as an alternative to cotton, the production of which involves the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, unlike Cannabis which also provides more durable and stronger fibres. Cannabis derivatives may also be used in place of usual plastics, reducing pollution. Cannabis ‘hurds’ (the woody bits of the Cannabis plant) can be used to make furniture and good quality paper (in fact better quality paper than wood produces!). Cannabis could even be used as a fuel, which could potentially provide almost enough energy to satisfy our domestic and industrial needs as well as running all of our cars without pollution, ultimately a safer and more affordable energy source so says a recent FCDA Europe report. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding this surprising, perhaps it is no wonder this is publicly a litt
                      le known fact, the stakes involved for the existing energy industry are high. The fact that Cannabis does have so many far-reaching uses could be argued to be a powerful force against legalisation (but not an ethical or fair argument!). To be able to use Cannabis in place of the above products would potentially take away large sums of revenue from large and established companies. Companies whose tax is important to the balance sheets of many governments and who, for various reasons, have influence over governmental decisions. In fact some investment professionals have speculated that should Cannabis be legalised the USA economy and ultimately the world economy could collapse, the reason being that so much of the drug-related money which floods into the US stock market could be withdrawn in reaction to legalisation (and therefore a new form of competition) leading to a crippled stock market. Other industries and employees could also be worse off through the legalisation of Cannabis (and therefore are liable to support the current illegality) for example law enforcement agents such as the UK police force who currently arrest over 80,000 people a year for Cannabis-related charges, in 1999 the figure was 97,000 (around one arrest every 51/2 minutes!) clearly employees who are part of this justice process may query their job security should decriminalisation or legalisation go ahead. These are all reasons why certain people/organisations may be anti-legalisation, these are certainly not my reasons and although I agree that there are a few issues that need ironing out I am certainly in favour of changes to the law, on paper trying to be completely objective cannabis is certainly no worse than alcohol or cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes are legal, the debates surrounding cannabis cloud the real government worry with legalising cannabis – they and their big business cronies might lose money, do not be fooled it is for our health that they are concer
                      ned! Social consequences are harder to prove and quantify than medical facts for example suggestions that similarly to being drunk, being high on Cannabis may lead to reckless decisions such as unprotected sex, which carries another plethora of dangers and potential difficulties, not least unwanted pregnancy and contracting STIs. However, alcohol is not illegal and it is certainly patronising to suggest that adults need protecting from themselves! The co-ordination impairing effects of Cannabis also lead to danger if users drive under the influence. Counter arguments regarding social consequences include the idea that the euphoric feelings encouraged by Cannabis can help encourage relaxed attitudes, pacify aggressive situations and bond people together in a shared, even spiritual, experience. Social costs are difficult to prove either way and facts can often be interpreted to suit various arguments. Anti-legalisation campaigners argue that widespread use of Cannabis, as with Tobacco and Alcohol, may increase the burden on the NHS (although not exclusively as private health services may increase member charges to compensate for additional costs that they may incur) although this is countered by Pro-legalisation arguments that the illegal status of Cannabis leads to huge social cost. With over half a billion pounds resulted in 83% drug arrests being for Cannabis only, in 1994, a sum which would be of immense benefit to the NHS. The illegality of Cannabis means that state or official bodies do not profit from (or even control) Cannabis trade, therefore missing out on possible revenue and losing large sums of money to criminal organisations, money which may then finance other illegal activities for example arms trafficking or trade of harder drugs. The taxation of a legal cannabis industry could help fund rehabilitation programmes and NHS needs, among other beneficiaries. (And counterbalance the money that it is feared will be lost by those
                      companies who currently profit from cannabis being illegal). The illegality also means people struggling with drug abuse problems may feel uncomfortable approaching officials for help, the stigma attached to treatment for drug abuse may start to subside if Cannabis was legalised. Perhaps the most significant official body in favour of the legalisation of cannabis are the Liberal Democrat party. The Lib Dems are the first mainstream political party in favour and as the Lib Dems are one of the main parties in UK parliament (some, not least Lib Dem party members, would argue that the Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to Labour and therefore, arguably, the second most important UK party ) this adds considerable weight to the Pro-legalisation movement. Key members of UK Government have also shown support for legalisation of Cannabis. The Home Secretary David Blunkett suggested in October 2001 that Cannabis might be legalised for medical reasons and Mo Mowlam has recently received much attention for her support of legalisation (of other illegal drugs as well as Cannabis) and has long been in favour of Cannabis legalisation. Other politicians who have admitted to smoking Cannabis include Labour’s Dr Lynn Jones and the Conservative’s Lord Strathclyde, Tim Yeo, and Oliver Letwin. Many members of the medical profession support legalisation of Cannabis, if only for medical uses. In 1994 a BMA survey concluded that 74% of Doctors are willing to prescribe Cannabis and in 1980 the FDA (in USA) approved THC pills (the active ingredient in Cannabis) for use to control nausea in cancer patients. One of the flagship arguments of the Anti-Legalisation lobby (hotly contested by Pro-Cannabis campaigners) is the idea of Cannabis as a “gateway drug”. The idea that the use of softer drugs introduces users to the “drugs experience”, that once one drug is mastered or becomes boring, and users will look for the n
                      ext drugs experience. It is difficult to prove or disprove this idea wholeheartedly, much anecdotal evidence backs the “gateway drug” argument although recent Observer polls suggest that 83% of drug users take Cannabis opposed to 4% heroin, which would logically suggest that if Cannabis is a gateway drug, it is only a gateway drug in a few cases, perhaps when combined with other factors. Pro-legalisation campaigners argue that the illegal status of drugs Cannabis may encourage people to experiment with other underground drugs, the logic being, “I’ve already broken the law, I may as well continue”, an upside down take on the gateway drug argument. Pro-legalisation is often based on the “we’ve already lost the war” argument and with recent BCS poll figures suggesting that 3 in 10 of us have taken an illegal drug and 83% of those having taken Cannabis, use is widespread, yet so is domestic violence but that is no cause for sanction, clearly other arguments must be convincing to complement this defeatist approach. Legalisation, it is argued, would lead to controls over the potency and content of supply, thereby lessening risk to users, however the UK Government argues that more importantly, the message to be read into legalisation of Cannabis would be “it’s okay to take drugs”. And quite frankly, speaking as a young person, a hell of a lot of us think it is okay anyway and the government saying something is okay or cool is more likely to have the opposite effect! A Cannabis Café movement (in similar style to the famous Amsterdam café culture) has sprung up, perhaps the most radical and physically present movement yet. Dutch Experience opened in Stockport, Greater Manchester in September 2001 with Dutch Experience 2 opening in Bournemouth at the start of April. Global Hemp museum is planned for Edinburgh. A certain degree of bad light is cast over these initiatives however giv
                      en the fugitive status of the owner, one Nol van Shaik, a Dutchman who has served four years for Bank Robbery and is wanted by the French Police. One side issue which is often overlooked in UK Cannabis debates is the idea of race and the possibility that making Cannabis an illicit drug has racist overtones, this is a particularly tense issue in Stateside debates. Many cultures use Cannabis and have done historically for example Rastafarians and illegitimising a part of the culture could be argued to be exclusive and racist. Cannabis use and legal status are also hot topics in other European countries, although this has not been as publicized in this country as possible changes to the British legal system have been. As early as 1997 the EU recommended the decriminalisation of Cannabis and now the governments of Switzerland and Holland are moving toward full legalisation. Luckily for Britain we can assess results from other countries that have decriminalised Cannabis such countries include Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and famously Holland which reports “After an initial increase in the incidence of Cannabis use in Holland after decriminalisation, the rate of increase fell off compared with other European countries… the increase in the number of new drug addicts fell drastically compared with other countries.” (http://www.ccguide.org.uk). Millions of people do it, millions of people don’t and there is no clear right or wrong. An ICM Research poll (conducted in early 2002) suggested that about 13 million adults in the UK have taken illegal drugs at some point, the majority of them having taken Cannabis. The chances are that you either know somebody or are somebody who has used Cannabis, and the chances are that you or your acquaintance haven’t turned into Zammo from Grange Hill but that does not mean Cannabis is danger-less. The real question is how can the Government j
                      ustify its illegality while allowing tobacco and alcohol sale? Prohibition of alcohol does not work (look at the prohibition era in USA), cannabis use is wide-spread anyway and we are not a nation of lunatics, the current laws are patronising and hypocritical.

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                        17.06.2002 20:40
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                        I thought I would write a little guide to some of the things no-one mentioned I would need!!!! You will doubtless know of all the essentials "something old to deliver in etc..." but there are often a few things that get forgotten. First babies are often a long, slow haul to heave out and although you will have loads to concentrate on later on you won't in the beginning and neither will your birthing partner. I took glossy magazines to read, nothing heavy just frivlous fashion and things, reminded me there would be a life for me afterwards and it wouldn't all revolve around disposable pants and elasticated waists! You are not the only one who might get bored! My boyfriend took one of those 'puzzler' books which may sound odd and a bit childish (but bless him, he is both those things!) and it helped keep him entertained without boggling his brain! (Although at one point he did slam the book down wailing "it's just too hard!" but I think that had more to do with the emotion of the day!). Babies first toy. You will probably pack your favourite newborn outfits but I thought it was lovely to give her a little toy as a welcome! Obviously she (Mia) was completely oblivious but it's so sweet looking at pictures and seeing her with Miffy and knowing that Miffy will be around for a while as a reminder and a connection to that day! (In fact I still have my first bunny and sleep with him under my pillow..oh too much information...sorry). Make-up. If you are a make up kind of a gal that is. I stayed in for five days and hence had quite a lot of visitors, after spending so long looking like a bare-faced earth-mother type I actually really enjoyed putting my hair up and some make up on and wearing a tight top (albeit with baby belly) and enjoying hearing people say "wow! a three day labour and you look so glamourous!!" as much as I love being a mum and was really in awe of M
                        ia I also loved the fact that my pregnancy was over and I could get back to being a normal shape. (Not that it lasted long as second is due in October!). Note-lets and thank you cards. All sorts of people will come out of the wood work and send cards and presents, it will probably really touch you how many people make the effort and if you have a few days in hospital there will be times when you are bored, little one is sleeping, you're not in the mood to chat but you're not in a sleepy mood. If you take some cards you can do all your thank-yous before you get out - believe me you won't have as much time then! Things to nibble (after the birth but also for birthing partner during - boyf slunk off and bought sandwich midway and stashed up on choc bars), preferably fruit and nuts and things, but hey, you deserve a treat so why not stash some chocolates too! Hospital food is much better than the jokes make out but often quite measly portions and my helpful partner was forever nicking bits so I found I got quite hungry in between. Most hospitals have a snack shop but it won't always be possible to troop down with new bab in tow. Lots and lots of pants! Even if you don't estimate a long stay things don't always go to plan and you may find yourself in for longer than hoped. You will need loads of pants! Not just one pair for everyday, I won't go into the details but believe me, if you remember nothing else from this list, pack the pants! Also, do not under-estimate how many maternity pads you will need. To start with you may get through a pack a day... Well, I hope this has been useful. This is not supposed to be a definitive list but an extras list!

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                        • Morning Sickness / Parenting Issue / 1 Reading / 18 Ratings
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                          17.06.2002 18:15
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                          I had horrible morning sickness with both my pregnancies. The first continued until about 5 months but thankfully this one stopped at 13 weeks on the nose. Both times it could be triggered by everything (smells, tastes, sights!) and came at all times of the day including morning! I found there were a few tricks that helped so thought I'd share these with you... Try not to focus on it. With my first pregnancy I was thrilled and tried my best to enjoy and dwell on every aspect, even morning sickness... to start with. This made me feel ten times worse, going for a walk - away from cars and traffic if poss as they pong, can help. I never felt like eating, in fact the idea positively turned my stomach, but you must try! Eating a little, regularly (such as nibbling melba toasts and fruit throughout the day) helps keep your blood sugar balanced and helps stop the wobbly feeling. Big meals are often impossible and make you feel worse but eating well is essential. I ate sesame snaps and dried apricots by the backet but would warn (after a nasty experience!) to go a bit easy on fruit! Avoid grease! No, not the classic teen-flick with lovely dimpled Travolta, the stuff the fish and chips come washed in! This may just be me but every time (both pregnancies) I ate fish and chips or anything v. greasy I was violently ill. May have been the curry sauce and pickled egg combi though... If you have a delicate tum, try not to go ott on the hot and spicies as this could irritate, if you are a tex-mex or curry fan try a little and see, as you may be fine, I quoffed gallons of curry and chilli over my last pregnancy but took it slow during the early part and went for milder dishes. Avoid smokey areas. We all know that the smoke is bad for you and the baby but sometimes it is difficult to avoid, this can also be a trigger for nausea though so don't be afraid to up sticks and get a breather. Get plenty of sleep. I
                          know when you have an excitable and miniature-sized bladder this can be difficult but sleep deprivation makes you feel ten times worse and gives your poor body something else to try and cope with! (If the bladder issue is a problem try and limit your drinking after 8ish in the evening or keep refreshing sweets by your bed instead of water, sucking them can make you feel refreshed without further stretching your bladder - although obviously it's important you get enough to drink throughout the day). If you are sleeping badly, nap when possible. A friend of mine used to go and sleep in her car during her lunch break and I've been known to slump at my desk (but I did that before I was pregnant!) If sickness does strike in the morning, try and get a cup of weak or herbal tea and dryish toast to nibble before you face the day, your blood sugar will be low after the night without food and this will help perk you up. Try and get breakfast, not always faceable, a biscuit or piece of dry toast is better than nothing. Try herbal tea, peppermint, ginger and calmomile are all good as they can calm tums. Get a balanced diet, all the minerals and vitamins will help your bab as I'm sure you know but they will also help your bod combat illness and keep itself balanced and healthy. (Don't be afraid to use vitamin supplments if your diet is a little lacking but it's always best to get the real thing first). Smells were a particular trigger for me and I could smell repulsive smells that other people didn't notice so clearly they were accentuated by my hormones or something! The fridge was a particular source of misery for me and I used to have to hold my breath before opening as the one time I wasn't prepared I vomitted then and there, on my favourite shoes, gutted! Anyway, I got a little egg shaped thingy to put in the fridge which neutralised bad odours and really helped. My mum picked it up fro
                          m Lakeland Limited for about £5. Your doctor might suggest that you take 50mg of vitamin B6 twice a day, which can help, but always check with your doctor before taking it. Well that's it, other than to say everyone and their dog will make suggestions to help, you have to find what's right for you and don't try anything that sounds dodgy!

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                          • How to Discipline Children / Discussion / 0 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                            11.06.2002 05:57
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                            • "see op"

                            I am a mum but a new one, I thought I'd better clear that up so people know what angle I'm coming from. I don't agree with smacking unless in the classic "hand nearing the fire is slapped back" kind of situation, which is really just common sense, but I do realise that sometimes it may seem the only viable option. Perhaps if smacking is to be outlawed more advice should be given on alternative punishments, ones with the same immediacy as a smack. I will admit that although I am against smacking (will go into why in a minute) I know I'm not alone in wanting a little bit of advice as to how to discipline more, um, humanely. It is going to be difficult to convince people that they should not smack their children, while we hear constantly about the problem's undisciplined children cause!! I feel that smacking, and I use that as a catch-all term for all force used as punishment, doesn't explain right and wrong to a child. It creates a maze of "things I know lead to a painful punishment" with new things being added all the time and not "why I shouldn't do bad things". I also feel that the message is potentially damaging - if someone does something that you don't like you are entitled to hurt them and that is enough to solve a problem. That bigger people are licensed to use their physical advantage over smaller, more vulnerable people. Clearly we do not want a world full of people who use quick fix violent solutions. Violent discipline has been prevalent throughout history, children have always misbehaved, the notion that the new generation is one of wild hoodlums with no sense of discipline due to a lack of smacking is nonsense. In a straw poll amongst friends (bearing in mind I am in my early twenties I am only just past the young offenders tag age!) we were all smacked, so smacking does still go on. I would go on to say that, certainly in my case, it helped create a them and us f
                            eeling between me and my parents, that they would consider hurting me rather than sitting me down and explaining things to me, still baffles me. I do not want that alienation from my children anymore than I want them running wild, I would like to strike a balance, where respect is the key but consistent boundaries are maintained and I'm sure I will make some mistakes along the way but this is certainly my goal and I really don't think smacking is the path to it. Despite being against smacking I am not sure that purely outlawing it will have a positive effect. It would be a gross shame if otherwise good parents were branded criminals simply because they used methods that they had known as children and seemed the only viable option. Child abuse is illegal and yet it hasn't been iradicated. As with all 'social problems' I believe that better support and information is the key and the law is notoriously inept at dishing both of those out!

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                              11.06.2002 04:44
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                              I had a long and difficult birth and have since been told that that is the norm with "back to back babies" well, hello? What the flippin' eck is a back to back baby?! I hadn't been told anything about such a breed and certainly didn't expect it! So, as I'm sure many first time mums and dads won't have heard of this either, I thought I would share my birth story... I was due on 3rd August and was huge, heavy and hot, not to mention pretty tired of the whole pregnancy deal (having never 'bloomed' but broken out in acne and with breasts like water balloons I was yet to see the fun side). I tried a few of the natural methods to move things along but got to 41 weeks and relented to schedule a hospital induction on 17th August. I had no idea how terrible this could be so was quite relieved to have an end date in sight. I think this relaxation helped, alongside a night of manic laughing (courtesy of The Office, BBC2). Late Monday night I started to have firm contractions, not painful but more rigid feeling than Braxton Hicks, like a toughening of the area and a feeling of ‘fullness’, they got closer and longer and more uncomfortable throughout the night and I lay in bed watching Ben (partner) sleep, while getting more and more nervous and excited. I woke him up around 7am the next morning feeling like I should really go in, the contractions had gone on all night “whatever happens we’ll have a baby by tonight” I stupidly whispered, followed by yelping and bag grabbing and hospital phoning. I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible! At the hospital I was wired up with a TENS machine and sent off to pace around the grounds. 9am, the painful and embarrassing ordeal of having my cervix felt for width of opening (by a shovel-handed midwife, deep joy, it is quick though) told me I was 4cm, whoopee, now we're cooking with gas etc... Anyway, the contractions went
                              on and by the afternoon I was a bit fed up to say the least. The midwifes, to my horror, told me to go home and get some rest, this could be long, I EXPECTED TO HAVE DELIVERED BY NOW!! We came home, went for long walks of panting and leaning, car journeys, tried to sleep (as if!) had some tea, watched some telly, grrrrr! The contractions started to get pretty painful that evening and off we drove to the hospital, not long now I thought (when will I learn?!). I was again checked, by a very little handed midwife – this time her hands were too small to reach my cervix, more pain!!!! She told me that the first midwife had been mistaken – I was only 3cm now (queue major expletives from me…) anyway, the contractions were getting stronger and I tried gas and air but it wasn’t very helpful at this point (it was later a gift from the gods which I would definitely recommend). Anyway, I was given some pethidine that night and got a little bit of sleep, no real progress through the night, sent home again the next morning… GGGRRR! To cut a long story (marginally) shorter, that evening I went to the main hospital 25 miles away, with strong contractions and a filthy mouth, determined to get this blo*dy baby out! Thank god by the time I got there I was in established labour (thanks in no small part to our rickety old Escort). Small but longhanded midwife – fab, had a bath and progressed a bit more. I was moved into a delivery suite. Gas and air (Entenox) made me hysterical and rambling -demanding anaesthetists, offering my house in exchange for a c-section – I rent! and asking if the anaesthetist was Alice Cooper and accusing him of “f'ing nattering”… but too late no epidural, I was going to deliver, by midnight I was ready to push, not long now I thought… wrong again, the pain was blinding, turns out the cervix had not quite opened and baby’s head was banging it and
                              not getting anywhere, her heart rate was soaring and dropping. We were petrified, I was talking like a crazy person and telling everybody off, eventually I was given an epidural afterall to stop everything for a while. 6.10 that morning (Thursday 16th August 2001) following a failed vontouse (sink plunger type contraption) and some forceps Mia Lili Emma was born, beautiful and peaceful and weighing 7lb 12oz (could have sworn she was double that…). Apparently, although she had been the right way up (i.e. not breach), she was facing the wrong way with her back to mine… ah-ha that’s what a back to back baby is… it is very common and means long labours, and it's more common amongst first babies. I am now expecting my second (despite everything I said in the delivery suite!) and will definitly ask them to check which way it's facing...

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                              • Birth Induction / Parenting Issue / 2 Readings / 17 Ratings
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                                11.06.2002 04:11
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                                With my first child I went quite overdue and had a scheduled induction for a couple of days after the date I actually 'dropped' on (incidentally how less apt could the expression 'dropped' be?! sorry... on with the point). I have since witnessed a friend have the most torrid time imaginable as a result of a hospital induction, and while I'm sure it's not that bad for everyone I’m glad I escaped! I was due August 3rd (just had my year anniversary!) so I was feeling pretty hot, sticky and sofa-shaped by my due-date. I’m lucky in one respect as my partner’s mum is a midwife so I got some sound advice. Raspberry leaf tea is by all accounts a great way to strengthen the muscles used in labour which will help you cope with the whole process of heaving out the little bundle of fun but as far as helping induce an early labour, it is unlikely. Castor oil was touted right left and centre but with hindsight I’m glad I didn’t take it as it isn’t safe. Far from it (there are some great ops about this so I won't go into this more here). I ate lots of curry anyway throughout my pregnancy and still went overdue so in my case that didn’t help. I do strongly believe that the birth will happen when the baby and the cervix is ready but, especially with first babies a little bit of gentle encouragement could help. I wasn’t really as calm and rational as this at the time though and did even proposition my partner into making bumpy, uncomfortable love to me, poor lamb, what a proposition, a sweaty, frustrated, stretchmarked elephant, my partner is quite a ‘cuddly’ shape so it wasn’t exactly Hollywood standard love scenes, more like a bus crash. The sex issue is a confusing one, some advisors suggest that you should wear a condom as infection could occur and others will tell you that semen contains chemicals that soften the cervix, apparently orgasm helps 'shake
                                things loose as well' but in my experience this was a bit unlikely, I felt about as sexy as a paisley jumper. Needless to say I also believe mind set has a lot to do with it, both me and my sister-in-law gave birth only days after we’d resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to be induced and stopped trying and I’m sure that must be quite common. In my case I really believe that a combination of relaxation (thinking that I would just be induced and just waiting for the day) and laughter helped. We watched an episode of The Office on BBC2 which we found so funny that we laughed for the rest of the evening, while brushing our teeth and for quite some time in bed (trust me it really was funny!) I started having contractions that night and Mia was born a couple of days later. I can strongly recommend having fun, just relaxing and enjoying your last few days of pregnancy.

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                                • Room 101 / Discussion / 0 Readings / 37 Ratings
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                                  27.05.2002 01:10
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                                  Being something of a newby to dooyoo I am going to try and control myself and write as calmy as poss as I tend to rant if left unchecked, maybe when I get more confident on the site I will come back and let rip.... Okay, firstly, and in no particular order, judgemental people. I know I'm coming over all beauty pageant entrant with hand on heart but it's true, there is no benefit from knee jerk reactions and labelling. If someone's a young parent (for example) why automatically read that to mean a certain attitude and lifestyle, people are diverse, and if someone IS experiencing difficulties or detrimentally effecting those around them hows about a bit of advice, support, info? surely more useful and likely to incite change than gossiping and bitching like the proverbial fishwife (not that I want to label fish wives of course!). Vulterous Debt Management companies, preying on the frightened with crap advice and poor service that over all costs the debtee more, ooh, shame on them! Blinkered National Pride, now I know a sense of community can be a good and encouraging thing and a sense of history is nice but I am talking about xenophobia and feeling superior as a nation state, alongside organised religion, it seems to me this is a major war-starter. Organised religion, I am not trying to disprove beliefs or take away from any personal, individual spirituality, I am talking about the business side of organised religions, the land, the cover-ups, the corruption, the manipulation and the fear-mongering. People who unashamedly try and ram their religions onto other people rank pretty low in my estimation but those who surreptitiously introduce their religion as the 'obvious' or 'normal' choice, or suggest that to not follow a religion is lazy rather than an informed choice are bigger culprits in my eyes. All -isms in general, of which I personally hate sexism and racism the most (sorry, I guess thi
                                  s is a bit of a hundred for the price of one cheat). People who lie to win arguments, thats not a debate, it's an improv competition. The "mothers should stay at home" crusaders. My partner is a house husband, he is very, very happy, I am very, very happy (working and seeing my daughter at breakfast, lunch and after work as I work 10 mins walk away) and our child is very happy, loved, well-fed, clean etc... So all in all a very happy household (surely the ideal environment to bring up children!) When I stayed at home I was bl**dy miserable, the house was a sty, my daughter picked up on my gloom and my partner hated working and being away from his daughter, yet certain factions (not least some family members) irrationally see the second situation as preferable. Metros, (sorry I know they are v common and popular) but I hate them! They look rubbish, they are rubbish, slow, fragile and unreasonably expensive second hand, I'd feel safer and less of a pillock in a giant egg shell.

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