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There is a set of these dumbells in my local gym, so I thought it would be interesting to review them. Bear in mind, I'm a girl of average weight, UK12, who normally uses middle of the range dumbells - my usual weights are 20-25lbs. If you saw me in the street, I don't look like one of those 'muscly freaks' the gossip magazines swear you'll turn into if you lift more than 3lbs. I look average, perhaps a bit leaner in the arms and legs than normal, but overall average, and I'm pretty happy to be strong. However, I read some articles by Tracy Anderson, and figured I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't try them, so headed for the pink dumbels.
The dumbbells are 2.5lbs each. To put this into perspective, the average full term baby is around 7.5lbs. Now, I know you can argue that you're never going to bicep curl a baby, but half the point of getting fit is to be make life easier. If the weights you're working with are lighter than a bag of potatoes, then the practical applications of your workout are going to be pretty low. The Tracy Anderson Method says you should do lots of reps at a low weight, so I go for 100 bicep curls with the weights. Yes, by the last few my arms ache (do anything 100 times and things will start to ache!), but I'm not sweating that hard, and I know I'd feel more tired/worked if I'd just done 10 bicep curls with a higher weight. Next up is 100 tricep curls. Then 100 side lifts. And on and on and on... My arm workout alone (which is normally a 15 minute affair) takes 45 minutes. Why would you do this to yourself?
The dumbells themselves are holding up nicely. the grip is still strong, not slipping. I can't get over how 'barbieish' they look though! It's such a stereotype, and I really want to put them down and go for the normal silver weights, even the light ones. I feel like I should have much more makeup on, and a perma-grin etched on my face.
I can imagine that, if you're not used to a gym, these are a godsend - light, unassuming, difficult to injure yourself with, and not all that intimidating. However, while they may be a good starting point if you're really new to exercise, they shouldn't be the 'goal'. Even upping the weight to 5lbs would compress your workout. There's a great article on why lifting heavy works for slimming women here http://rawfitness.blogspot.com/2007/01/women-lift-heavy.html and I'd recommend anyone looks at the transformation of a girl named Joob (her blog is called hey joob, google it!). Both convincing stories that show that lifting heavy is not counteractive to weight loss!
I have a complete love hate relationship with Topshop at the moment. The clothes are amazing. The prices? Not so much.
Some of the stuff I see in there is beautiful. Genuinely, unbelievably beautiful. Unfortunately, the price tag is equally unbelievable - £75 for a shawl? £55 for a basic dress? £50 for a pair of (admittedly nice) ballet pumps? I know the entire high street has gone up in price, but I find Topshop to be the most ridiculous. It is now out-pricing Oasis and Warehouse, often seen as the higher quality ends of the high street, and at times, it surpasses the prices in FCUK, which is outrageous, as the quality of material and stitching in FCUK is far superior to that of Topshop.
Currently, it seems that Dorothy Perkins is far superior. Still within the Arcadia Group (meaning topshop vouchers work here, too!) the clothes are equally as pretty and often much cheaper. The nicer dresses here are about £40, in comparison to the £60+ that Topshop are now charging.
It's a real shame, as Topshop clothes are genuinely quality togs. Unfortunately, the prices are alienating most of their potential market, and it's hard to enter the store now, knowing the inevitable disappointment that will follow.
What I wanted - a basic printer/scanner that's easy to use, easy to set up and easy to forget about when I don't need it.
What I got - a basic printer/scanner that's easy to use, easy to set up and likes to occasionally make very loud noises if I forget to turn it off!
Overall, this is a brilliant printer, as it does exactly what it says on the tin - it prints, it scans and it photocopies. That is all I need, and it is great. This probably wouldn't be what you were looking for if you wanted professional printing, but it's ideal for any university students or career focused individuals, that only need a printer to print the bare essentials. For the price, you can't go wrong!
This was a breeze - I put the CD in and was good to go. It took about 20 minutes in total to set up, but once that was done I was home and dry. I've never had to reinstall anything, and anyone else can plug their laptop in and print without issue.
The speed of the printer is good, if a little loud. The paper does need to be really straight, and it can be easy for the printing paper to slip a bit, so that you end up with wonky essays! Not a good look. It prints pretty quickly, one sheet takes a few seconds. The ink runs out pretty quickly, and though it's not particularly expensive, it's not cheap either!!!
Works like a dream! Honestly had no problems with this aspect of the printer. Once you've read the handbook, using it is pretty straightforward, but DO MAKE SURE YOU READ THE HANDBOOK! Seriously, don't make my mistake and just try mashing buttons. It doesn't end well.
Well, it's not broken down on me yet! I've had it for about 6 months, and have had no real problems with it. Installing the ink is easy, and it's a pretty well behaved printer overall.
The Tempest is believed to be William Shakespeare's final play, written around 1611. Rather notably, it is the first of all of Shakespeare's works to use the dramatic unities - unity of time, unity of location and unity of action. For a play to conform to the unities, the play must take place in the natural progression of time, the location must remain the same, and there should only be one real plotline. The Tempest technically has two locations; at sea and then the island. The time almost conforms to the length of the play - it takes two hours to perform the play, and the action supposedly takes place over 4 hours, and the plot is focused on Prospero getting home.
This sounds pretty unimportant, but it is such a sharp contrast to Shakespeare's other plays. Think of Hamlet; it is set across 3 months, in numerous different locations, and there are multiple plotlines which contribute to the stories; think of Fortinbras, and his plotline, which provides nothing in the story of Hamlet's quest for revenge.
Overall, The Tempest is a very enjoyable play. It is set upon an island, and focuses on the story of Prospero, the ousted Duke of Milan who was washed onto the island with his daughter Miranda. The main plot is his mission regain his position of power. To do so, he conjures a storm and runs the ship containing the King of Naples and the new Duke of Milan (his brother) into the island, manipulating the characters until they all eventually do his bidding.
One of the prime aspects of the play is Caliban, a slave of Prospero. An interesting statement on the dangers of colonialization, which was in it's infancy when Shakespeare was writing, Caliban was the previous owner of the island, who is raised by Prospero but eventually attempts to rape his daughter. While he is now seen as requiring sympathy, Caliban has historically been one of the 'bad guys' in the play.
I would be lying if I said this was my favourite Shakespeare play, but it is far from the worst. It is more interesting from an academic perspective than it is from a performance perspective, and personally, I'd recommend the more popular plays such as Hamlet or Macbeth if you're interested in seeing Shakespeare performed.
Davina McCall's Second Dvd, My Three Thirty Minute workouts, was the first fitness DVD I ever purchased. After a sports injury, I was left unable to run for a few months, so took this up instead. Run by Davina's Trainers Mark and Jackie, the DVD provides three great routines to keep you active and stimulate your body.
Honestly? Once I'd gotten the hang of the routine, Davina *had* to be put on mute. Davina, I love you, but your voice is NOT what I want to hear when I'm exercising! Though the trainers give some helpful tips, they're the sort of tips that only need one or two mentions for you to get the hang of.
As for the workouts, all three have their merits. The first two both use the occasional minute long interval session of skipping, jumping jacks or something similar to keep your heart rate up, whilst the final workout is more pilates based than HIIT based, as the other two are. The box recommends doing 3x30 minute workouts during the week to lose weight and improve fitness levels.
This requires weights, even if they're just makeshift ones. I like this the most out of the three as it is the most versatile; the fitter you get, the heavier the weights can get, so long as you have access to more.
Led by trainer Mark, this is (funnily enough) a boxing workout! It's shadow boxing, but by incorporating kicks and skipping, Davina ensures the workout is both interesting and tough. I'd say this isn't as versatile as the pump, but you can aim higher/do 'manly' push ups/pause the program and do extra reps to make it tougher.
I have awful balance, so I find this pretty tough! It's mostly pilates moves, and involves quite a lot of core work. It doesn't necessarily work up a sweat, but you will feel it the next day!
I'm going to be honest - unless your fitness level is very basic, these doing 30 minutes of this 3 times a week isn't going to improve your fitness level by much. I'd say that this DVD can definitely be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, but if this is your main source of exercise material, you're not only going to get very bored very quickly, but you'll only be doing the minimum amount of training required to be 'healthy'. Most sources recommend 30 minutes a day for fitness, so maybe doing this every other day, with some cycling or swimming on the alternate days, would be a better option.
Let's be honest, Closer Magazine is a total dirty little secret. It's the trash that keeps on giving; over 100 pages of pure tosh. Yet there's something so good about reading a magazine so bad! The stories are mostly speculation, there are frequent spelling and grammar mistakes and half the people 'real life' stories sound too idiotic to be real (this week's winner? "I smoked 4,500 cigs to make my baby stronger". WHAT?!) yet it can be such good mind numbing crap that you can forget about all of the faults.
The regular columns are Fridge Raider (where they look into the fridge of a 'celebrity'), Beauty Insider (where they give you a 'celebrity''s makeup tips), Shopwatch (where they look at the week's new high street trends), Stylewatch (the hit and miss celebrity outfits of the week). Bodytalk (where they analyse a celebrity's body language), Guilty Pleasures (where they talk to a 'celebrity' about their guilty secrets) and Real Life (one of which is almost guaranteed to be about a woman gaining weight for money. I don't know why they're so addicted to these stories!). They also offer TV guide, puzzles, letters and a horoscope, the standard magazine fare, and 'celebrity news'.
The magazine is split into five sections - Closer News, 'Closer Talks To', Closer Real Life, Closer Beauty, and Body Matters. The titles are pretty self explanatory (the last is about health and fitness) and all offer exactly what it says on the tin.
I'm going to be honest, quite often the pages in the 'diet' section make me want to start punching things. The diets they come up with are almost always 1200 calorie diets + exercise (note - unless you're under 5'0 1200 calories IS NOT ENOUGH even if you are trying to lose weight) which all just have ever so slight adjustments from the previous week's diet. It's quite paradoxical in it's approach to female weight - half the time the mag is yelling 'CURVES ARE GOOD' at you, and the other half of the time it's 'LOOK AT HOW FAT POSH SPICE IS' (yes, Closer yells everything at you. There's no such thing as a subtle Closer article). I would not recommend a closer diet to anyone, they're just crash diets that may work, but only in the short term.
Overall, Closer is good trash, nothing more, nothing less. If you open the magazine expecting Vogue, you will be disappointed, but if you're open to a few trashy tales, then maybe Closer's the mag for you!
Leadmill is one of the most popular alternative clubs in Sheffield, having been on the scene since 1980. It features a wide variety of music, catering to all tastes from mainstream to punk to indie to ska.
There are two main rooms within the club. Room one is the bigger of the two, and often plays the more popular club tunes, along with some general chart music. Room two plays a more 'indie' selection; stay in there for long enough and you're guaranteed to hear The Smiths, The Cure, Arctic Monkeys, Madness, Bloc Party, The Strokes and more. As a general rule, room one is more crowded, though both rooms are equally fun.
The weekly club nights during academic term are Shag on Mondays, Gaga on Fridays and Sonic Boom on Saturdays. Shag and Gaga are probably the busiest of the three, as they accommodate a mainstream audience, while on Sonic Boom nights, Room 1 changes to indie, and Room 2 is mostly 60's. Gaga nights are often a lot of fun; in the last year, they've had candy floss, popcorn, a bucking bronco, and more.
Leadmill is also occasionally the home of Itchy Feet, an alternative travelling club night, which accommodates for a variety of tastes - Swing, Jazz, Funk, Rock and Roll... It's all there. I've been to two of these nights, and I could not recommend them more. It draws an interesting crowd, and is definitely a fun night out if you fancy something other than the normal club music.
Alongside being a club venue, Leadmill is also a live music venue. The acoustics are great, and I've yet to have a problem with the quality of a view or overcrowding. As a rule, Leadmill doesn't draw quite the same caliber of bands as it did in the 80's - they mostly go to the O2 or Motorpoint now - but the larger indie bands, such as Noah and the Whale or the Guillemots, still play at Leadmill.
It is located a little bit off the beaten track, between the town centre and the train station. This may sound ideally located, but for most it involves a cab ride to get there. It's about a 15 minute walk from the city centre, and a 25 minute walk from the university campus. The nearest tram stop is at Sheffield Train Station, but the last trams are before midnight.
Price wise, Leadmill can be hit and miss. Entry is often free before midnight if you send off for a text, and certain shots are sometimes £1 before midnight, but after that drinks can get pretty pricey. Would recommend not aiming to drink too much here if you want to keep the price down!!
The club closing hour changes daily - 2am Monday-Thursday, 4am Friday and 3am Saturdays. This is more than sufficient for most, however, and the guards are pretty good with getting people out slowly.
Overall, I'd say that Leadmill provides a great clubbing experience. The audience is pretty widespread, and the music played caters for everyone. Class night out!
I am a massive fan of Boot's No. 7 Liquid Eyeliner. After trying a number of brands, About one year ago I settled on this type, and haven't looked back since! I would recommend it to anyone, and after a few practice runs, mastering any look becomes simple!
Easy peasy. The brush is soft enough to bend into the right shape, yet firm enough to properly apply the liquid. The only complaint would be that the tube can get a bit slippy, especially if your hands are wet!!!
The container is subtle, but sleek. In boots, I'm always drawn to the flashy packaging (hello Soap and Glory!) but I quite like this. Simple black tube with gold writing.
*Length of Use*
I use the liner about five times a week, only lining the top lid, and am known to get through about 1 tube every 2 months. I line my lids pretty heavily, so this is pretty good. If you were only using it for special occasions, then it would obviously last longer.
I never take makeup out with me, so it's really important that my makeup stays put. I've never had a problem with this liner running, and (just to prove a point!) I watched a sad film earlier and cried lots, yet the eyeliner is still fully in tact. Success!
They offer the liner in black and brown. I've only ever tried the black, and it is very black. When the tube is running out, it sometimes requires two layers to create a strong line, but most of the time it looks fine with only one coat.
The perfect liner for any look, day or night.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a bit of an apple geek, and my favourite techy gadget is the iPhone. Portable, comprehensive and has everything. Seriously everything. Whatever you want it to do, there's an app for that.
The primary uses? Phone and music player. I also use it as a way of receiving emails when I'm not home. All three uses are performed to perfection, I have no complaints. Some users may find the touch screen keypad difficult for texting, but it is something that you will get more efficient at with time. I still occasionally hit the wrong button, but the autocorrect feature is *relatively* accurate! If you want to see how the feature can go wrong, look at damnyouautocorrect.com. Definitely worth a chuckle!
One of the big drawbacks of the phone is the camera. It is fine, in a basic sense, in that it can take a photo, focus and shoot. However, there is no flash, and (unlike the iPhone 4) there's no camera on the front of the phone, meaning that you can't use it for videoconferencing and the like.
My contract is with O2, and I'm happy to say I've had absolutely no problems with them. I have their insurance, and when I dropped my phone down the toilet (clean, thank God!) they brought me a replacement within 2 days, with a charge of £50 (a lot, but not as much as a new iPhone would have cost!).
Lets get straight to the point; this 3 Minute Deep Treatment for Coloured Hair is one of the best products I've ever tried (and believe me, I've tried a few).
The 'Aussie' hair care brand has built an empire around its famous '3 Minute Miracle' treatments, and with good reason. The treatments all seem to work like a dream, and all do exactly what they say on the tin.
I've been dyeing my hair for the last 3 or 4 years, so it is very important to me that my hair gets the moisture it needs, else it becomes dull, dry and unmanageable. So, when I spotted Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle specifically for coloured hair, I knew I had to try it. It cost around £2 from my local Asda, and contains 250ml of treatment. For me, this lasts about 10-15 treatments (I have relatively long hair), which, at 1 treatment a week, works out to be relatively cheap.
The liquid itself is relatively thick, with a sweet coconutty smell (the 'flavour' is listed as Wild Peach, but in my opinion the smell is much more reminiscent of a bounty chocolate bar). The instructions are very easy to follow (douse hair, leave for 1-3 minutes, wash out) and very effective.
I've also used it before for considerably longer, due to the extent of damage present in my hair. After going to a festival, my hair had tangled so badly at the back that it was in dreadlocks. My auntie recommended getting some Aussie treatment and using it in a slightly different way that she used once or twice a year on her hair (which is incredibly curly). So, I doused my hair in the treatment, wrapped a warm towel around my head and left it for 30 minutes. My hair has never looked better.
I can't recommend this product enough to people who dye their hair and suffer from dryness or split ends. It really is a godsend.
And finally, a little fact for you. 'Aussie' haircare products are no longer sold in Australia. Its a bit disappointing to find that out, isn't it?
We Are Scientists seem to have been around forever now; its hard to believe that it's only been five years since the release of their breakthrough album 'With Love and Squalor' propelled them into Indie Mainstream. Though continuing to knock on the chart doors for the past few years, the highest they've ever charted with a single is 15th in the UK, not breaching the top 10 at any point. "Barbara" is their fourth (or arguably fifth) album, following on from 'Brain Thrust Mastery', which consists of the same basic components, placed together in a slightly altered manner with the aim of taking the band to the 'next level'.
As with most albums, the first few songs are the strongest. Sandwiched between the two primary singles 'Rules don't Stop' and 'Nice Guys' is the fantastic 'I don't bite', a song which has all the makings of a good single, though perhaps not a brilliant single. All of the usual components of a WAS single are present; a recognisable riff, well timed pauses and smart lyrics, but it lacks the energy of earlier gems.
The two singles beside it are both good, but not great. Rules Don't Stop is a good opening track, but not what I would consider a good single. It doesn't build up, it just coasts along, whilst Nice Guys (similar to Impatience) is mostly just memorable due to the video. It is a shame, because they both have the potential to be brilliant.
Aside from the singles, there are some good finds. You Should Learn is an instant favourite, whilst Ambition and Break It Up have both grown on me. Still not a fan of Jack and Ginger, but I'm willing to overlook that, as the rest of the album compensates.
Overall, I would actually rate this as We Are Scientists' strongest album. However, whilst the entire album is good, none of the songs are pushing on the door of brilliance, and that lets the band down. The singles feel anti-climatic, as if they should be building up to more, and (from when I've seen them recently, at least) these songs are much harder to bounce to than earlier albums. Overall, a solid 7 out of 10, must try harder if they want to be batting with the big boys.
1. "Rules Don't Stop"
2. "I Don't Bite"
3. "Nice Guys"
4. "Jack & Ginger"
7. "Break It Up"
8. "Foreign Kicks"
9. "You Should Learn"
10. "Central AC"
From what I can gather, people have a very love/hate relationship with Tru-Eye contact lenses, but I have to say, they work for me, which isn't something that can be said for most contact lenses.
As someone with -2.75 vision, I need to wear either lenses or glasses more or less all the time. Glasses do not suit me, so for the past 4 years I have relied on lenses, with varying results. I shan't name and shame the past brands in this review, but I tried almost every brand before settling on acuvue lenses.
Within acuvue, I used the Moist variety for about 3 years. These are relatively good, but it was always the case that after 8 or so hours, my eyes would dry up to the extent where I'd have to take them out. If I was caught short, and had no glasses with me, this could result in absolute nightmares! However, since switching to Trueye, I have been able to keep lenses in for upwards of 12 hours without any discomfort. They are also easy to put in; with past brands, there's sometimes been difficulty with getting the lense to stay in place; no such problem with these babies!
The biggest downside is the price, though you can save a bundle if you buy online! The last time I bought them in an optician's, it cost me around £160 for 3 months. Online, I found them for £130, saving £30.
I've lived here most of my life, so I suppose its time to write a little ol' review on my home town!
Bournemouth is a seaside town, situated on the south coast of the United Kingdom. It's supposedly the happiest town in England (survey courtesy of First Direct) and has the lowest levels of crime in England and Wales. Its about 2 hours outside of London, and is situated in East Dorset.
I would imagine Bournemouth's a pretty nice place to come for the occasional holiday or for university. There's quite a few reasons people are attracted to Bournemouth for both work and play, and I can understand why.
Bournemouth has a pretty good night life, with quite a few large nightclubs situated within about a mile of one another. There's plenty of bars and restaurants, plus parks and places of interest, whilst you have the Jurassic coast less than 40 minutes away by car and Henigstbury head an hour's walk away from the centre.
However, if you're interested in music, then you're best getting the train over to neighbouring Southampton or Portsmouth. A few large bands play the BIC, and there's usually some comedy gigs there, but the majority of bands play the arenas in Hampshire instead. The train journey's only 30 minutes for southampton and an hour for Portsmouth, so if you're into your music its well worth it.
Business wise, if you work for a corporate bank in Bournemouth, chances are its going to be JP Morgan, as its European Headquarters are based in the city. Bournemouth is the UK's first Fibrecity, though I've yet to reap the benefits of this scheme, as I'm BH8, not BH10 or 11. To be honest, if you asked anyone on the street about this new internet scheme, I'm willing to bet 2/3 wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about.
Sights you should see;
-- Bournemouth gardens are really pretty in the summer, and on wednesday nights there's an opportunity to light candles throughout the park, which is quite fun if you have 8-13 year olds.
-- Henigstbury Head is one of the more historical beaches in the area, plus you're allowed to take dogs and kites down there. I haven't trekked up to the top of the head since I was in junior school, but I seem to remember that being quite fun as well, though beware the school groups that are permanently up there!
-- If you're over at the end of August, you might witness the Bournemouth Air Festival. It usually runs around the 22nd of August, and heavily features the red arrows, who do shows around the Bournemouth area throughout the year.
-- Brownsea Island is pretty close, and one of the few areas left in the world where you can see red squirrels. The national trust runs workshops where you can help make the island more squirrel-friendly throughout the year, and they're always quite fun.
-- Castlepoint is the new shopping centre in Bournemouth, opened in 2007. Its not got the same range of shops that the town centre has, but it has much larger stores, and all the basics are still there.
However, I will say that if you spend more than 3 years in the city, you will begin to tire of it. It is not really a city, more a large town, and as such if you're used to living in a larger area you will become very very bored. Schooling wise, the Bournemouth college has a bad reputation at the moment; you're better off going to Brockenhurst college, and the university is okay. The arts institute has a good reputation, as do the grammar schools, though it must be noted that parkstone grammar usually gets higher marks than Bournemouth school for girls.
I've read 1984 so many times over the years, that reading Animal Farm was almost an inevitability. The magnificence of Orwell's writing style made this book too appealing for me to miss out on, and so, when I spotted it at a scottish airport a month ago, I couldn't resist.
The first thing that you'll notice about the book is just how thin the book is. It is less a novel, more a very short story, consisting of around 100 pages or less depending on the size of text in your specific copy. This is both a blessing and a curse; the length of the tale means it is ideal for a 2 hour train or plane journey, as it will completely absorb you for the entirety of that journey. However, it is so short that you are left wanting so much more than what you're given - I could have easily read the story of Benjamin, Boxer and Napoleon for many more hours.
The story is rather complex, but insanely interesting. The satirical storyline is analogical for the corruption of communism; indeed, many of the animals in the novel can be directly identified as representations of communist leaders; Old Major can be seen as Lenin, Napoleon as Stalin and Mr Jones as Nicolas II.
The novella details how a group of animals, led by the pigs, overthrow the farmer who owns them, displacing him and putting into place a political system called 'animalism', based on seven commandments;
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep on a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.
Throughout the book, the reader witnesses the distortion of these seven key principles. In doing so, the novella explores the weaknesses of the communist regime, exposing how a tiered system of power always dominates society, and how the communist regime forced its people into submission. In short, the novella proves how every utopian society eventually proves dystopic due to abused intelligence and greed, eventually turning revolutionists into the same people they originally overpowered.
What is impressive in the novel is how each individual character is developed, particularly in the case of my favourite character, Boxer. His 'I will work harder' mantra, alongside the 'Napoleon is always right' statement that he repeats throughout the novella show how his simplicity has been abused; his inability to form his own opinions mean he is overly reliant on these two statements, provoking pity from the reader.
This book is truly magnificent. It is a must read for anyone over the age of 12; it exposes societal weakness and serves as a warning to the destructive power that greed can have in politics. If you've never read it before, I cannot recommend it enough; it is truly one of the modern classics.
My Life & IBS
I was diagnosed with IBS at the age of 10, after 5 years of being bounced from doctor to doctor trying to work out what the hell was wrong with me. Before this, I'd been diagnosed with everything under the sun, from stomach migraines, Crohns disease, candida, gastritis; one doctor even told my mother he thought i had stomach cancer. The big problem is that there's no real 'test' for IBS; everything else has to be ruled out in order for it to be diagnosed, and there are so many gastrointestial problems that it could be that doctors cannot assume IBS as it could be much more serious.
Obviously, the person in my life that was most affected by my IBS was my mother, who had to sit up at night with me when I was sobbing in pain as a little kid. I hope to heavens none of my children ever have anything similar; its horrible, as the doctors were telling her there was nothing they could do, and there was no need to take me to the doctor as nothing was 'wrong', even though I was in pain. She tried absolutely everything to make me more comfortable; cold baths, hot baths, back rubs, calpol, everything. I think she was even more relieved than I was when I was finally diagnosed, and approached everything after that with the methodical work ethic that I love her for.
However, once you're diagnosed with IBS, you start to realise just how many other people have the same problem. A year after my diagnosis, my uncle started dating a lady who had IBS also, and she's been so helpful to me in the years since. And within the past year one of my best friends has been diagnosed with IBS also; hers is triggered by completely different things to mine, but we've both been helping each other cope.
Treatment wise, there are 3 different types of treatment that I have sought for my IBS, so I'll mention all 3.
Most people with IBS have certain dietary 'triggers', and so for the first year post diagnosis will do an exclusion diet with the help of their doctor. I have several of the more common triggers; yeast, mushroom and banana. However, this doesn't mean that you have to avoid the food forever - its been 7 years since my primary diagnosis and I've learnt how to manage my triggers pretty well - so long as you don't eat too much, you'll usually be fine. I've found I can have the occasional sandwich, and that my body can process mushroom based products such as quorn (which is good, as the years without quorn were hard for me as a vegetarian!)
Although the doctors always told me there was a psychological side to what I was experiencing, I never really believed them - how could I be imagining this pain? However, after hypnotherapy (don't scoff!) for panic attacks, I realised that one of the main problems with my IBS was that the panicking that I experienced during IBS attacks was worsening everything, as I was tensing my muscles, then my mind was reacting further to the physiological effects, resulting in higher amounts of pain and longer attacks. As stupid as it sounds, breathing exercises and light yoga really help, as they can assist in basic things that worsen the symptoms of IBS such as elevated heart rate and erratic breathing.
I've tried a few drugs for IBS, but the most effective by far for me was Buscopan. They're tiny tablets, but insanely effective, and seemed to break my IBS cycle. They're a bit pricey, but if you can get your hands on them they are worth every penny. since I started on them 2 years ago, I've never had an attack escalate as they used to when I was younger, and they always do the job within 20 minutes of taking the tablet. The pack recommends taking them regularly, and for the first 4 months I did and they worked magically. Now I only tend to have 2 if I can feel an attack coming on, but by no means do you need to take the tablets for the rest of your life.
Alternative Methods for reducing the pain
I've found that it helps if I pace, don't ask why, but I do. If I feel the IBS pains starting, I have 2 buscopan tablets, and then begin walking round the house at a slow, steady pace, reminding myself constantly that I am fine, and less than a minute away from the toilet (one of the biggest problems I find is that if I get an IBS attack in a public place, I immediately start panicking about whether I can go to the bathroom, which obviously just makes things worse).
However, my aunt is the complete opposite; if she gets an attack, she finds the most helpful thing is to lie down on the floor, completely still, and breathe deeply, 3 counts in, 3 counts out.
If you can have one, hot baths do really really help.
I hope something in my story has helped someone, because IBS sucks and I'm glad if I've helped someone, even if its just a little bit!