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Where oh where do I get the time to work full time, look after three kids, keep my husband entertained, write reviews for Ciao AND read I hear you ask?? Lord only knows but something has to give, and it?s about time I packed in work and hung up my nipple tassle?s for a while to indulge in the things I really enjoy. Anyway, enough of the waffle, (unless you want me to indulge you in titillating tales of tassle twirling?..thought not), and onto the review in hand. Broken is the second of Martina Cole books involving DI Kate Burrows (The previous one being The Ladykiller, however, the latter does not have to be read to appreciate this offering). A child has been found at the top of a multi storey derelict building, minutes before it was due to be demolished, saved only by the persistence of a young jogger who spotted him. Meanwhile, another child is seen being thrown into the back of a dustbin wagon, but again is spotted before any real harm comes to him, it appears that his brother is also missing. This is the start of a spate of child abductions in the fictitious town of Grantley, and DI Kate Burrows is the one on the case. As the tale unfolds it seems that the mother?s of these poor children have all been identified by witnesses as being at the scene of where the abandonment?s have taken place. Of course, all of these women vehemently deny this, but why would anyone believe them, they are the lowest of the low. Locking their children in their bedrooms overnight so they can go out to work, giving their children valium so they can go about their ?business?, generally being the epitomy of an unfit mother. Meanwhile, Kate?s private life is in turmoil. She has found out that her partner Patrick Kelly, is not as ?kosher? as he would seem (he had promised Kate he had given up his ducking and diving, and dodgy dealings), she has discovered he owns a lap dancing club that she knew nothing of, and he
is in it up to his eyeballs after one of his ?friends? is found murdered in there. Back to the investigation, Kate discovers one of the missing children has been found murdered, and the race against time is now on for her to find out who is responsible for these crimes. The only link she can come up with is that the children of these women have been ?borrowed out?, but for what reason? And to whom? Kate Burrows also has to question her own morals throughout this book. How far will she go to uncover the awful truth behind these child abductions/murders? Is she capable of bending the rules to get to the truth? How far will she go to help and protect her partner Patrick Kelly? Broken is a harrowing tale of what people will do in order to survive when they are at rock bottom and desperate. It certainly made me question my own morals, and, judgements that I make on people. Cole writes in such a style where you find yourself truly engrossed in the characters within the book, some of whom do terrible things you or I would abhor. She makes you feel (if not quite empathy), some understanding as to why people do the things they do. I found the book to be hard going, nothing to do with the writing style of Cole, but the content matter it covers. Did I enjoy this book? That?s a tough question. As I?ve already said, some of the topics covered are harrowing and thought provoking. I found myself questioning my own morals and beliefs throughout the whole of the book, and the snap judgements we sometimes make on people that don?t fit into what society would class as normal. This is a powerful novel, written with sensitivity and a feeling that Cole knows her subject matter intimately. I have read all of her works to date, and they all deal with the gritty harsh reality of life, but Broken is by far her best offering (in my humble opinion). It took me two days to finish this 660 page of
fering, which will tell you how mesmerising it was. It set me back the sum of £6.99. Published by Headline www.madaboutbooks.com More information can be found about the author at ;- www.martinacole.co.uk I apologise that I have explained little in the way of the plot, but to do this would truly spoil an excellent book for potential readers. Thanks Wendy xx
Under normal circumstances I would not be writing this review. Why? I hear you ask. Well, the reason being I would normally be watching my figure, but as I am 28 weeks pregnant it seems like a futile task. So in the interests of consumerism (and my cravings for anything and everything) I have sacrificed myself (and my arteries no doubt) to bring you this opinion. *PACKAGING* Well, for those of you who haven't had the good fortune to have come across this product (where have you been?) the crisps come in a tube which measures 9 and one 16th of an inch, or for those who work in metric 229mm (that's without the lid mind you so no nasty comments in my guestbook thank you very much). The flavour I'm reviewing is Texas Barbecue Sauce, therefore the tube is a brownish/purplish affair (as with most barbecue type crisps). There is the usual smarmy faced anaemic looking bloke, with a Terry Thomas type 'tache, beady little eyes, and hair like the good looking one out of A1 (a nice eclectic mix don't you think?). Oh and don't forget the little bow tie!!. The word Pringles is emblazoned across the front of the tube in yellow writing, and a few stray crisps floating around underneath it to give the extraterrestrial feel (a must for crisp eaters). The words Texas Barbecue Sauce is in smaller letters underneath, and a picture of a sheriff's badge (though what relevance that has to it I don't know, maybe because everyone is Texas is a sheriff!!) *PRODUCT* Now I've got the interesting bit out of the way, onto the boring stuff. After 'popping' the lid, and removing the silver foil (a task in itself), one is met with a smell of, hmmm how can I describe it? That's it, the bottom of the grill pan after you?ve cooked a couple of greasy burgers (very appealing, can't wait to taste them). The crisps are shaped like one side of a ducks beak (try putting two together and quacking
, yo ur kids will be amused for a nanosecond at least ). One side of the crisp is light brown in colour, the other is bright orange (I like to lick this side before I eat them, maybe I do have a craving after all). The taste is hard to describe, I wouldn't say they were barbecue as such, they have more of a sweet taste (if you?ve tried Walkers Barbecue flavour, they're similar but a little sweeter), but maybe in Texas they have different barbecue's to us Brit?s, I dunno. They are highly flavoured, you'll find yourself licking your lips for ages afterwards, which can be a pain if your other half is watching and think they're on a promise when all you want to do is finish off the darn tube. There is a slight aftertaste, but just pop another little blighter into your gob and problem solved. Now the Ad says'Once you pop you can't stop'. I find that a very subjective statement as this all depends on how greedy, hungry or just plain bored you are. Now, I am a conniseur of crisps, I love them and would rather have a bag of hot n spicy monster munch over a bar of dairy milk any day, but I find these to be very average on my scale of 'moreishness'. I've worked out a tube of Pringles is equivalent to about 7 packets of normal crisps, I would say in one sitting I have maybe eaten just less than a packs worth (which for me is unknown as I could eat three bags of crisps in a sitting). As Pringles come in a tube, they are less prone to breaking up into little crumbs, which is ideal if you are having a buffet as you won't have your less savoury guests raking around the crisp bowl for the biggest ones (ok so I know some scruffs, sue me). On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate these as a 6. The taste is acceptable, they don't break up into little pieces and you can have loads of fun making duck noises with your kids. *OTHER STUFF I'VE MISSED OUT* This
particula r tube cost me £1.49 from my local Co-op, but I have seen them in Asda for £1.29 (and they often have the 3 for 2 offer on). They come in a variety of flavours such as, Salt and Vinegar, Ready Salted, Sour Cream and Cheese, Cheese and Onion, Barbecue (of the unTexan variety), and a limited edition Curry flavour. The tube is 200g (equivalent to around 7 packs of crisps), so although they seem expensive they are just as good value for money as a multipack of Walke'?s. *NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION* Per 100g 544 kcal (Yikes) 36g Fat (of which 13g is saturated) Fibre Not worth writing home about So all in all a thoroughly unhealthy snack, although as I have mentioned earlier they do have some redeeming qualities. Well I hope you have had as much fun reading this op as I have writing it, now I really must go and watch that paint dry. Thanks for reading Wendy xxxx
You may have fleetingly read in the national newspapers lasy year that Hartlepool Borough Council had their firsy mayor elected by the people of the town and not just the old farts who decided their freemason buddy should have the cushy number instead. Three candidates stood for the coveted title (and £70,000 salary no doubt assisted their decision). Two local businessman and, wait for it, a monkey!!!!! A monkey I hear you say. Yes a monkey, or rather a guy who used to dress up as a monkey at the Hartlepol footie matches, and more often than not ended up brawling with the opposing teams mascot. Can you imagine the sight of a guy in a monkey suit rolling about the pitch with a guy in a chicken outfit. So you can imagine our surprise, as Hartlepool residents that the monkey (Stuart Drummond), received the majority of votes and subsequently landed himself a £70,000 a year salary without ever having any political experience. At first sight, you could well think, oh my god, who are these fools to vote for a monkey for gods sake, whose only promise if he got into government was to give each child of school age a banana a day!!!! When all came to light, after the tabloids had had a field day, the guy in question, Stuart Drummond, turned out to have a degree in business management, and although he worked in a call centre at the time of his appointment, seemed to have a bit of nous. Now heres the most surprising thing of all, this guy is doing a fantastic job. His first proposal was to cut the number of councillors (which didnt go down well with the councillors in question, but hey alls fair in love and politics). He has spent time out and about in Hartlepool, he has even had a stint at working as a refuse collector, helped clean graffitti off the walls, and actually knocked on the door of residents of the town to ask their views on how it could be made better (this was after he was elected too I might add). H
e has an open door policy, whereby the days he is in the council offices, the people of the town can just drop in to have a chat about anything from playgrounds to the proposed building of a new incinerator here. The people of the town like him, he has fought his cabinet to reduce council tax rises from 4.8% to 3.5%. He is a mayor that actually listens, just a normal person like you or I, given the chance to make a difference. Whoa!! Im making him sound like some sort of saint here, and I can assure you I am not his press officer (lol), but I think it only fair to give credit where credit is due, it makes a nice change to feel as though youre not banging your head against a brick wall. Maybe some other councils should take note of what has happened here in Hartlepool in the past year, and let the people decide who they want to run the town. NB_ There is a Chief Executives post up for grabs in the next few weeks within this council, anyone interested; starting salary a meagre £100,000. How the other half live eh??
Ive had a particularly bad day today so thought I'd come on and let of a bit of steam and where better than Room 101. 1) Ill mannered folks in general. Im going to narrow it down though to downright rude patients in hospital. I dont often work on a hospital ward these days, apart from if theyre short staffed and I can fit it in around my kids. Did you know that a lot (not all) but a lot of patients have a manners bypass before coming into hospital. Please and thank you are not words they use whilst being a patient. "Lift me up the bed nurse" - now how do they expect a 9 stone nurse to physically lift up a patient is beyond me. They must think we have the strength of Geoff Capes proportions, and when you say "could you please hold on a moment whilst I get a colleague to assist me they tut at you and roll their eyes. Now the majority of these patients have nothing wrong with their arms and legs (its a gynaecology ward for goodness sakes) and could easily push themselves up the bed, but when they suggest it to them they look at you as if youre speaking Swahili. A simple Please would make life so much better for the nurses. I have many other examples but I could go on forever. I will now move onto my next point. 2) People who park in supermarket spaces which are clearly made for people with children. You see them loading into their cars with not a sprog in site, I did confront someone about this once and was plolitely told to "mind my own F^*$%^g business". If I parked in a disabled space I would more than likely be clamped. So just spare a thought for men and women having to do shopping with their kids in tow, its not a nice experience. 3) I don't know if it happens here often on dooyoo, but last week I noticed a new name and this guy had written a few ops so I gave them a read. The opinions were dire to say the least and would have certainly been not useful. To my shock they
were rated VU. When I delved further and checked on who had rated them they were people who had joined that day and all had similar names, which makes me think that this particular guy had registered a few accounts here and had the audacity to rate himself as VU. People spend a lot of time and thought writing their opinions and churners and cheaters like this one want flogging with a stocking full of diarrhoea. 4) Now this is a BIG rant from me. The hospital where I used to work brought in a policy last year, where in their infinite wisdom, they would charge us to park for the pleaure of going to work and take £10 a month out of our salary for the privelidge. What a bloody liberty. They also restricted where we could park, i.e. not in the main car park where there is always spaces but in car parks in obscure, badly lit places within the hospital grounds. They do not have security people making sure our cars are ok, and the places where we could park left you pretty vulnerable to any scally fancying their chances. So what the hell they charge us for god only knows. On principle I refused to pay and just used to get my husband to drop me off. Paying to park at work, what a flaming cheek!!!! 5) TV licences is my next big whinge. I don't subscribe to Sky, therefore I have a choice of whether I want this or not. So why do the BBC think they are any different. They should adopt a similar policy to ITV and have advertisements to get revenue. I would happily have BBC removed from my already limited viewing experience as the programmes they make are either utter crap or repeats of utter crap. I hate being forced into paying for something I dont want, and the BBC I could well do without. 6) Paedophiles and other sex offenders. These people prey on the most innocent and vulnerable of our society. A person very close to me was sexually abused by his father from the age of 9 up until he was fifteen. It turned out at the court case that h
e had also been sexually abusing his other two children as well. His punishment for ruining these childrens lives - 15 months in prison of which he served 7 months. He was released into the community, given a job with the salvation army (very well paid I might add), and then had the audacity to move near to where his family lived as the law allows this. Justice my hairy arse. They get away with their crimes, paedophiles are sick members of society and cannot be rehabilitated, therefore into room 101 they must go and stay there until they die a painful death!!!!!!!!!!!! 7) Door to door canvassers. I had an unfortunate experience not too long ago with a firm who were trying to get new business for charities. These people were so forceful, saying 'how would 5 pounds a month change your life, it would certainly change the lives of people in the third world'. So being the kind soul that I am, invited them into my house and they filled in the necessary stuff to debit a fiver a month from my account. They then had the audacity to fill in a questionairre, which I felt pressured to write nice things about them as the canvasser was sitting next to me whilst I was filling it in. I already give a substantial amount to two charities every month through my choice, but in this instance I felt coerced. Pushy salesmen into room 101 for you methinks. 8) Taxi drivers (sorry madcabbie, not you) in Hartlepool. I have a seriously ill friend who will not be with us for much longer. She is 31 and we decided to have a surprise party for her (sadly it will probably be her last). She enjoyed the party but was tired so I decided to take her home and ordered a taxi. My friend is ill, and looks ill. I asked him to take it easy when he was driving as even the slightest jolt causes her great pain. He turned to me and said "she'd better not effing spew in here or you'll know about it." He obviously thought she was drunk. Now I do have sympa
thy for taxi drivers who have to clean up after people who have vomited in their cabs, but he was too quick with his bloody judgements and I gave him the blasting of his life and told him in no polite terms to "F&^k off". I ended up getting my husband to pick us up. so there are just a few of the things that get on my wick, and Im sure there are many more to come in the future so look out for installment two. thanks for listening to my whinge I feel so much better now =}. wendy
A few years ago I worked as a Sister in a very busy accident and emergency unit. In truth, I ws never realy 'off duty' so to speak. When I was at home I would often get phone calls asking me to come in and sort out problems which the staff on duty at the time were unable to deal with. At this point in my life I had three children, one being a 7 month old baby (whom I was still breastfeeding). I worked twelve hour shifts in my job which meant I didn't see my children before I went to work and they were peacefully tucked in their beds when I arrived home. Some nights I would come in from work crying. I missed my family so much. Sometimes I would look at my children after not seeing them properly for almost three days, and could swear that they had changed (especially the baby). I missed my baby's first tooth, his first steps, and most of his first words. Can you imagine how that feels, how inadequate as a mother I felt. It was heartbreaking. I loved my job, but I loved my family more, Im not the type who lives to work, but the type that works to live, that was always my philosophy but I felt I was not living by this philosophy at this particular time in my working life. To cut a long story short, I ended up off sick from work with a severe form of depression. Maybe brought on by the stress of not seeing my kids, mixed in with the stress of my job, or maybe postnatal depression which had not been diagnosed earlier. At first I would not accept that I was depressed ( I felt I was failing as a parent and as a useful human being in general), although as time went on and with very good counselling I accepted that I was depressed and admitted I needed help. My counsellor helped me work through my feelings, and the crux of my problem seemed to be juggling a stressful job whilst trying to maintain a loving home life for my children. Having established this, what was I to do? I could u
nder no circumstance afford to give up work, due to financial commitments, but I did not want my childminder telling me my son had 'had his first wee on the potty', so I bit the bullet, did a few calculations, and came to the decision taht I would go part time. Luckily I had a very supportive manager who agreed to this, and I job shared with another member of staff. This helped enormously, as I had more chance to spend time with my lovely kids, and whilst doing this part time I also did a degree in sexual health which brought me to the wonderful job I have now. I work monday to friday in a sexual health drop in centre (with the very occasional weekend and have days off through the week to compensate for this). I never have to work at christmas (it broke my heart on christmas day when my daughter cried and begged me not to go to work). Being a working mum is essential for me, my husband does not have a fantastically well paid job, and my children are a bit older now so they understand the need for their mum to go out to work. I would like nothing more that to be with my children every day (however in no way am I suggesting that stay at home mums have it easy, far from it), to watch them grow into their stroppy adolescenthood, and ultimately (and hopefully) good and caring adults. I sometimes do extra shifts on the old ward where I used to work when they are particularly short staffed but I keep this to a minimum. Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you get in from work is to help your seven year old with their homework, or ferry your rugby mad son to matches, or to play hide and seek with a boisterous toddler, but you have to find that energy and do it. If you don't you will regret it. Children grow so quickly, and to miss out on their important milestones is heartbreaking. I recently watched an episode of 'wifeswap' where one of the women was criticising t
he other for going out to work while she has a child, I could totally empathise with the poor woman, who felt so guilty. Please don't make judgements on working mums, I don't work for pin money, I work to provide my children with a decent standard of living. Its just so hard juggling both sometimes, and you do feel torn, but I can't see a way out. I chose to have children, and it is my responsibility as a parent to provide for them financially, but more importantly give them emotional support and unconditional love which I hope I do to the best of my ability. Some Tips on Coping. 1. Don't agree to take on extra responsibilities at work whilst your children are very young. 2. No matter how tired you are, make time for your children. A couple of hours of quality time is better than a whole day spent doing nothing with them. 3. Don't beat yourself up all the time, if you have to work you have to work. 4. Think about if you can afford to reduce your hours. I did and wasnt much worse off due to the money I saved in childcare. 5. ALWAYS make some time for yourself (and your partner if you have one), if you don't you lose your own identity. Even if its just going out for a walk with the dog, or seeing a friend for an hour. 6. Remember, it won't always be like this. There will come a time when your children are glad you work so they can extort the latest pair of trainers out of you without feeling guilty for asking. Hope this has been useful to someone. Thanks for reading . wendy
"Come on its not all old women whose dentures fall out when they shout house, there are loads of younger people go, the beers cheap, you can win loadsamoney, and have a laugh" said my know it all friend lyn. I wasnt convinced, the thought of being glared at by an octagenerian for taking 'her' seat did not bode well, but the thought of the possibility of winning 100,000 quid gave me a push in the right direction. Now before my first bingo experience I had preconceived ideas of the game and the people who played it, naughty I know but true. So I donned a cap (good for hiding my face should I bump into anyone I remotely know) and set of in my search for thousands. It cost a tenner for all the books which included a three page bronze book (money prize crap) a 6 page silver book (money not so crap) and a 7 page gold book (money money money). I also received a flyer and the prize on that was £500. The first session started, dabber in hand. Nightmare!!! I couldnt keep up with the caller I had six 15 numbered books to mark, and Lyn had to do most of my marking for me (bet she'd wished she'd never invited me in the first place). Anyway to cut a long story short I didnt win anything UNTIL. I was marking the last card of the gold book and suddenly I found that my numbers were coming out very quickly and lo and behold Id won £1000. Can you believe it, beginners luck but what the hell, I now had the bug. We decided to stay a bit longer, being the money grabbing witches that we are, and bought the late flyers ( a three page book and if you call out on your last page at 46 number or less you get £1000 on top of the house prize which was £125. Now I thought I was pushing my luck here, Id already had a big win, it couldnt happen again. The last page of the book again my numbers were coming out so fast I could hardly keep up, and it got to 45 number and the shouter called &q
uot;last time for the jackpot after this number, he shouted out number 18 and I shouted Bingo again. I almost fainted 2 grand Id won for a stake of a tenner, I couldnt believe it, I was in a state of utter shock. Im so glad she convinced me to go that night. Although I dont go often the biggest prize I did win was £4000 on a national link game, and a few other hundred pound prizes to boot. Its not exactly brain surgery and youre not gonna meet the man of your dreams here, but it is a good night out with a few friends and a few beers, and doesnt cost a lot, and hey somebody's gotta win. In the words of camelot "It Could Be You". Overall, a good night out, there are a lot of young people now playing and a guy in my local mecca bingo recently won £112,000, can;t be bad. Dont knock it til youve tried it, Im glad I didnt I would have won over £6000 in a matter of weeks. p.s. being the generous person that I am I split my win with my friend.
Whilst Threatening my two eldest children with the nastiest of punishments if they didn't clean the cess pits they call their bedrooms, we came across a game one of them received as a christmas pressie a couple of years back. They were ecstatic at finding this ( of course they would be theyve just had hundreds and hundreds of pounds spent on them for christmas, they go for something they havent played with in years. Obviously the batteries were past their best, so I promised them if they tidied their rooms to the point where I could actually see the colour of their respective carpets, I would get them some batteries and promised them a fun filled evening of Bop It Extreme. How do I explain this fascinating toy?? Well it looks like a steering wheel with four "ends" to which these ends have four peculiar looking attachments. They also have a centre which has the word bop it extreme. On end has a large round knob (ahem) which is the twist it part, the next end has a springy shaped, flick it part, another has a wheel shaped spin it part and the last end has a blue pull it part. *HOW TO PLAY IT* There are four gameplays in this little gem, which can be changed by pulling the (yes you guessed it) pull it appendage. 1 BOXBOP SOLO - this as the name suggests is for one player. You start the game by presing the bop it button in the middle of the toy, and the game starts. A voice tells you (in random order to either bop it pull it twist it etc. The object of this is to get as many right as you can, the maximum score is 250, which Ive not yet managed to achieve (my hubby has clever git). 2 BOXBOP - same as above but for as many players are available. It will give you the usual instructions and then tell you to pass to the next player. Whoever gets their part wrong has to sit it out, and the winner is the one that has made the least mistakes. 3 BEATBOP SOLO - Similar to
boxbop solo but instead of it being a voice telling you to spin it, its just sounds, like a spring for flick it, a crunch for twist it, I cant describe the other sounds but this is relatively more difficult that Boxbop as you get the sounds muddled up. 4 BEATBOP - same as beatbop solo but again with just noises to go on. The game gets gradually faster as the player progresses, and its not as easy as it first seems, and can be as frustrating as hell at times but great fun if there is more than one of you playing (especially a few 'merry' adults) The only bad thing to say about this toy, is that it is extremely noisy so if your children are playing and youre on the phone, watching telly etc its wise to have them play in a different room. OVERALL THOUGHTS This is a game for children (who have a certain amount of dexterity) and adults alike. We've had some great laughs playing this game, and I'm ashamed to say that my daughter (who is only 7) is a far better bopitter than me. Im gonna practise tonight and kick her butt tomorrow. The only disadvantage is that once youve achieved the maximum score it can become boring for the experienced bopitter, but apart from the noise and the maximum score thing, it was a worthwhile investment that has given my children and myself a hell of a lot of fun. I cant remember the exact price I paid for this but I reckon it was about the 20 quid mark. It takes 3 'aa' batteries which seem to last for ages in this game. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a laugh and a bit of hair pulling through frustration. One of my better 'investments', and the great thing is the kids tidied their bedrooms.
This summer I will be expecting my fourth child, something I am looking forward to immensly. I haven't had an easy pregnancy up until now, as I've had a serious form of "morning Sickness" (hyperemesis gravidarum), and at times i've thought to myself "Am I mad"? But this baby is truly wanted and when it arrives it will be truly adored, just like my other three children. When I was a teenager, I never wanted children, in my mind I already had my life mapped out from an early age (naive I know), and at that time children never figured in this plan. Not ever. I left school with good grades, and subsequently went on to six form college to gain my A levels and hopefully onto university. Its amazing how one solitary happening can totally change your life forever. I had my first steady boyfriend at the age of 16, I loved him (or thought I did). It was a few months into the relationship when we decided to have sex (rather I decided I was ready for it). I was taking the contraceptive pill at the time to help with my acne, so didnt really worry about getting pregnant. My course of pills lasted 6 months and when I asked my mother if I could continue taking them she asked me why. I didnt dare tell her that it was solely for contraceptive purposes (we didnt have a very good relationship and still dont to this day), so I told her for my acne. She said no, and that if my acne started to bother me again then she would consider it. Looking back I should have gone to my GP myself but my mothers sister was a receptionist there, and I didn't want to risk it getting back to my mother so subseuently I didnt get any pills. My boyfriend and I decided to use condoms, and they worked well until a few months later when i missed my period. I didn't need to do a pregnancy test, I just knew I was pregnant, vomiting, breast tenderness, need I go on. I eventually did a test and no surpris
e to me it was positive. After a few weeks of chucking up and feeling generally awful, my mother asked me the $64000 dollar question, "wendy are you having a baby". At that I burst into tears and told her what she had suspected was true, yes I was. Surprisingly my mother was very understanding, I thought she'd hit the roof, (shes quite a fiery woman), but it was my father's reaction was very different. He told me in no uncertain terms that if I were to continue with the pregnancy I would have to leave home. My boyfriend came to see my parents (which was a brave thing to do considering the mood my father was in), and he got the battering of his life from my father, (who had never ever lifted a finger to me in my entire life), my mother and i pulled him off eventually, I was hysterical by this time, and I truly hated my father at that point. I decided that I would have a termination, I'd hurt so many people already I didnt want to hurt them any further, I never even considered having the baby. I Think if I had thought out my options rationally I would have kept the baby but I was under so much pressure from my family that I decided that a termination was the only option. My mother took me to the Gp who arranged for an appointment at the hospital the next week (I was 12 weeks pregnant by this time). The day was finally here, 5th of November 1987, I was met by icy stares from the nurse who booked me in, and I will always remember her words to this day "its for the best how could you manage with a baby at your age". At that point I wanted to run out of the hospital and prove to them all that I could manage, that I would love my baby like any other mother. But I didnt, I just nodded my head and agreed. They took me down to theatre and the next thing I remember is waking up and realising it was all over. My baby was gone forever. I went home later t
hat day, and my dad had bought fireworks for my sister and I, and I remember watching them through the patio window as I couldnt bear being anywhere near my dad. My abortion was never mentioned again by my parents, I was not allowed to talk to them about it, God only knows I tried. Things were never the same between my parents and me after that. Shortly after my boyfriend and I finished, I don't think he could deal with the fact that I was so upset about it. I had no-one to talk to. For a long time after, this feeling of emptiness inside me wouldnt go away. My family couldn't understand what the big fuss was about. "If you'd have had the baby your life would have been ruined". This is something I will never know. My "baby" would have been 15 now, and I think about it quite often, especially now Im having another baby. The guilt I have inside is something that will be with me always. After this "event" my outlook on life totally changed, I was a totally different person, the things that had been important to me once, no longer mattered. I left my studies (to add to my parents further disappointment in me), and drifted from one dead end job to another. I met my ex-boyfriend, and had a child at the age of 19, we didnt have much materially but what we did have was a mutual love for our son. i felt now I had a purpose in my life, and went on to do my nurse education, and now have a good job in the health care sector. Im glad to say that women considering abortions this day and age have much more support than they did when I was pregnant. Counselling is available to them before they make their final decision and also aftercare counselling is widely available too should the need arise. I know this is a very emotive topic, and it has been very hard for me to be objective about it as this has been written from the heart.
Im not expecting any VU's or even Usefuls, due to the nature of the review, but your comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading wendy
I apologise to all of you reading this thinking it is an opinion on the original snickers bars. Its not!! Its a review in my humble opinion of something far more delcious than the original. What am I talkig about, I hear you ask, well as my title gives it away its the new Snickers Flapjack. Oh I can hear you Snickers fans (or marathon fans if youre over 30), right now, "no way, nothing can improve on the original. Well I am here to tell you different. Snickers Flapjacks are relatively new on the market, and I just happened a few weeks back, whilst buying my daily paper, to notice a stack on the confectionary counter and thought in the interest of research (yeah right) I would give one a whirl. At 59p for a 65g bar I thought it was a bit steep in price, but as I say this is all in the name of research, so to heck with the cost I thought and handed over the cash. As the name suggests, the product is predominantly a flapjack i.e. an oaty type feast that takes a lifetime to chew through, which is what I thought when first opening the packaging. The base is a mixture of peanuts (14%) (so no good if you suffer peanut allergies), condensed milk, golden syrup and a multitute of other gooey stuuf which I wont bore you with and binding agents (to stop it from crumbling one presumes). Layered on top of all this is a generous amount of caramel (11%), and a lovely thick layer of milk chocolate. Now anyone on a diet I would not recommend this to as my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw the calories and fat content, but I pacified myself and calmed down a bit, when I justified that I was "eating for two" (hehe). In each bar there are, wait for it, a whopping 369 calories, and the fat content a massive 22g. So anyone on the weightwatchers plan, you'd probably need to save up a whole days points to scoff one, but I tell you, they are worth it. The first one I bought I
resolved to just eat half and save the other for my husband, but before I realised it I'd eaten the whole bar (its my hormones I tell you). They are definitely moreish. The chocolate is just the right thickness and there are just enough peanuts to know that this is made by the same people as snickers (another dead giveaway is the name duh), but if blindfolded you would know what I mean. The bar comes in a copperish coloured metallicy type wrapping with the words (wait for it) snickers flapjack emblazoned across the front, and a few gratuitous peanuts floating about under the name. On the back it says that this product is baked by Mcvities Cake Company (oooh I can feel a jaffa cake review coming on). So a collaboration between masterfoods (who own snickers) and Mcvities (who make flapjacks as well as many other delicious products but I digress). Overall the product is definitely one of my favourite "treats" at the moment, but maybe when baby is here I will spit in the eye of mcvities/masterfoods for causing all the excess weight Ill no doubt be carrying around. Go on, I dare you to try one and not want another. thanks for reading. wendy
I have breastfed all of my three children, however being a fairly young mum when I had my eldest two I persevered up until 6 weeks or so then changed to formula milk. However with my youngest child, who is 3 in February I breastfed him until he was 17 months old. I knew all the way through my pregnancy that I wanted to breastfeed again, and hopefully persevere for longer than six weeks (which I obviously did). Immediately after the birth, the midwife gave my son to me, and he took to it like a duck to water, I had no problems getting him "latched on", as I did with my eldest two, and I feel that this is because I was more relaxed about the whole thing third time around. *THE BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING FOR MOTHER AND BABY* 1. You immediately feel a bond with your baby, its like nothing I have ever experienced before, the overwhelming feeling of love I felt whilst feeding him was wonderful (although by no means am I saying mothers who bottle feed dont have this overwhelming love, its just I felt like I bonded better with Tom because of it). 2. You pass on immunity to your children against illnesses such as chickenpox (presuming you yourself have been exposed to it earlier on in life). My two eldest children came down with chicken pox whilst Tom was only 2 months old and he never got it. 3. Its so convenient. If your baby wakes through the night (especially newborns)it is usually because they are hungry there and then, therefore there is no running downstairs to warm up a bottle whilst your baby works itself into a frenzy whislt having to wait to be fed. With breastfeeding it is there for your baby on tap so to speak. 4. It is very cost effective, no buying expensive formula milk and all that wasted time sterilising and making up the bottles everyday (although you will need to invest in a sterliser if you are planning to express milk). 5. Breast fed babies are far les
s likely to suffer from illnesses such as gastroenteritis (from poorly sterilised equipment) and colic, which is every mothers nightmare. This is where the baby has a sort of trapped wind which can be extremely painful for the poor little mites and extremely tiring for the parents too. 6. People are becoming more agreeable to breastfeeding in public, and a lot of large stores, for example Boots, and M & S provide feeding rooms for nursing mothers. This is a big improvement from even 11 years ago as I tried to feed my baby in a corner in a cafe and a young woman complained even though I was very discreet, the manager of the cafe asked me to take the baby and feed him in the toilet. I think you can imagine my reply!! 7. There is absolutely no need during your babies first 4 months of life to have anything other than breastmilk, as the foremilk is a drink and the hindmilk is actually where the baby gets his calories from. So no having to sterilise bottles to give water/juice. 8. Research has shown that women who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from breast cancer than those who dont. It also helps you regain your pre pregnancy weight and figure quicker, as the action of breastfeeding contracts your uterus back to its normal size quicker than that of a bottle feeding mother. It also burns up a lot of calories so you will probably find that you will lose those extra pounds quickly. *DRAWBACKS OF BREASTFEEDING* 1I would suggest that if you are planning to go back to work you try your baby with a bottle (or cup if older than 6 months), at least a few weeks before, as babies who are breastfed exclusively for longer than 4 months can be difficult to get onto a bottle. 2. Although people are becoming more accepting of breastfeeding mothers (and so they damn well should, usually the ones who complain are the ones who ogle page 3 in the sun every day, but are offended that you are using your bre
asts for what they were made, its the most natural thing in the world. 3. It can become very tiring, and tying as breastfed babies need to be fed on demand (usually 3-4 hours until they are weaned at 4 months), so you are unable to share the workload with partner/family/friends, unless you are willing to express milk so you can have some time to yourself. *OVERALL THOUGHTS* Although breastfeeding was a wonderfully fulfilling experience for me and my baby, it is not for everyone. All I can say is, in the beginning it can be tiring and frustrating and there were many times I thought "no more", but perseverence is the key, and once you get into a routine it is one of the most wonderful experiences a woman can imagine. I hope this has been helpful to pregnant women who are considering breastfeeding in the future. I am expecting my fourth child this summer and will have no hesitation to breastfeed again. Support is available through your midwife, but the National Childbirth Trust, and La Leche League are really helpful and supportive and can put you in touc hwith other breastfeeding mothers in your area and usually have meetings once a week in certain areas. Thanks for reading this. wendy
I am writing this opinion for any of you reading this who are considering a career in nursing. I started my nurse education (they don't call it training anymore, although I had a few lecturers who resembled the late Barbara Woodhouse), in 1993, as green as the proverbial grass, and as keen as a jar of colmans dijonnaise. I was one of the 'guinea pigs' of the new style nurse education, and embarked on a 3 year diploma in Adult Nursing. After spending an arduous year (yeah right), at university, studying all manner of things (we once spent a whole lesson on how many different words we could come up with for male and female genitalia!!!), we were let loose on the wards in our starched white uniforms with collars even Biggles would have been green with envy of. One of the first sights I was greeted with was an elderly lady who had fallen onto the floor being manually lifted into a wheelchair by two care assistants. Being a good student, I asked them why they had picked this lady up off the floor (we were told in uni that under no circumstances should we manually lift a patient, not for our health but for the arse pocket of the nhs trust we were allocated to i'm surmising, litigation and all that), to be met by icy stares only Medusa could muster (or so I thought). This was my first encounter with the massive practice/theory gap in nurse education. The university take an idealistic stance of how things should be done, but in reality it just doesnt cut it, I mean if I was an eighty year old arthritic lady I wouldn't appreciate being put in a hoist to be picked up off the floor either. So throughout the rest of my education I had to juggle with my conscience on a regular basis, and lying to my tutors (also on a regular basis, gulp!). I did eventually qualify, through hard work, bloody mindedness, and a great deal of bending the truth to the powers that be (and hoping my back didnt give out to all
the lifting i'd been doing). My first job was on a womens surgical ward, nothing spectacular, a lot of hysterectomies, hysteroscopies (and hysterics but that was mainly my colleagues). I eventually got a job in Accident and Emergency as a senior staff nurse, working my way up to the dizzy heights of Sister. This is where the real fun began. I did all manner of things during my time here, bandaging sprains (tasking stuff I know), to holding vomit bowls for the regular drunks, to being threatened by a junkie with a syringe full of god knows what, to being strangled by a bloke who I asked to put his cigarette out in the cubicle, to telling parents that their child has died. The latter is the worst thing you could imagine having to do in a job (nothing to what the bereaved are going through I might add). But trying to keep yourself composed under a professional facade in these circumstances is on of the hardest things I have ever done, and no matter how many times you do it, it never gets any easier. You do your crying when your shift is over. I eventually did my degree (it took 18 months as I already had a diploma and got a Bsc in Women's Health) which led me to the job Im currently in which is Lead Practitioner in Sexual Health at a local drop in centre. Its a nine to five, no working christmas etc, and most importantly fits in with my family life. I earn £28,000 which does seem like a lot but someone with my level of responsibility and accountability in another profession would probably earn 2-3 times this amount. In the 10 years I've been a nurse, I've had some terrible experiences, but the good ones have far outweighed the bad. Would I do it all again if I had my time over?? a resounding YES. Although the job is physically and emotionally demanding, the hours are antisocial in most nursing jobs and they pay is abysmal (a newly qualified nurse earns £15000), I couldn'
t imagine doing anything else. you have to have a sense of humour (its a prerequsite when you consider the pay at the end of all your hard work, lol), be able to make snap decisions, have good organisational and motivational skills (especially at a senior level, there is nothing worse than unhappy colleagues, it reflects on everyone in this type of job), and the ability to empathise with people from all walks of life (being judgemental just isnt an issue in this type of work). I hope this opinion has been useful to anyone who is considering a career in nursing. One last bit of advice, keep an open mind, narrow mindedness, and "sticking to the rules" wil only stop you being the type of nurse that is truly inspirational. Thank you for reading.
I had never read and Dean Koontz novels until last year, when I was on a long stretch off from work (ahhhh you lucky ducky I hear you say), but it wasn't a terribly nice time as you might think, and books at this point in my life, became my saviour so to speak. I had never been an avid reader before this time, and would only pick up a book I'd heard people raving about, but this all changed when a friend of mine came over with a stack of books from Shakespeare to Cornwell, and I was hooked from that moment on. Intensity was one of the first books I picked (I think by reading the back cover and thinking "yeah this won't be too taxing") and from the first page onwards I couldn't put it down. The main character (or should i call her heroine), is a woman in her mid twenties by the name of Chyna Shepherd (has a ring don't you think). Chyna and her best friend Laura, are going to stay with Laura's parents for a short break, they reminisce on the way there about how they became friends and this gives you an insight into the closeness of their relationship (Laura is the only person Chyna has ever trusted in her life). They get to the Templeton home and Chyna is made to feel like part of the family. Unusual for her as she has never experienced a "normal" family life, with an abusive mother and a deraged step father it a wonder she has grown up to be so well adjusted (well there you go the American Dream). After dinner with the family is over they all retire to their own rooms, and Chyna is sure she hears noises, so she goes to investigate and finds the bodies of the Templeton family (now im not spoiling this for you as it states quite clearly on the back of the book this happens). Chyna sees the "killer" take the body of Laura to his motorhome and decides she can't let him get away and somehow manages to sneak into the motor home and follow him to his destination
, wherever that may be. The rest of the book focuses on Chyna trying to outwit this "killer", and basically do the right thing. Now I'm not going to add anymore about the main story as its a great book and to give anymore away would completely spoil it for those of you who decide to read it. Now although Koontz isn't my favourite fiction author, and a minority of his books has left me cold, for example "Icebound" (cold, Icebound geddit?? awww nevermind), but certainly not this one. Koontz's writing style leaves the reader gripped from the start of the book, until the mindblowing end. Intensity had my heart pounding at times, as Koontz brings in twists and turns when you're least expecting them. It is also the type of book, that if you can manage to drag yourself away from it, you can pick up a few days later and get right back into the plot without too much trouble. The script can be frustrating at times, as Chyna faces some of the worst scenarios one could possibly imagine yet she still can think logically, and I find it hard to believe that someone could jump into the back of a motor home knowing her best friends dead body is in there, but this is Koontz. There are also some supernatural elements to the book, which are not as apparent as in some of his other work, such as "One Door Away From Heaven" (which is another fine read), but they are there, all I will say is look out for the coastal elk. The book has a fantastic ending too (but again I don't want to spoil your read), and when you discover what the "killer" does for a living you may be more than a little surprised (or maybe not). All in all, and excellent read, easy on the eye, and doesn't take much brainpower. This is one of the very first Dean Koontz novel's I read, and I'm glad I did, because all in all I've found the majority of his books to be ri
veting and unputdownable, with the exception of a minority. So if you've never read Koontz before I'd suggest this as a starting point.
I don't know many women who would just go out and buy themselves a bottle of perfume on a whim, I find buying perfume for myself an extravagance I can ill afford, and to be honest it never seems to smell as good when youve shelled out the best part of 40 quid of your own hard earned cash. So, with the festive season well and truly on us what better time is there to let our loved ones know that we're partial to a bit of the old whiffy stuff, and that a box of ferrero rocher will no longer suffice as a "carefully thought out gift". Clinique is a brand i've used for oooooh donkeys years, especially the skin care range, which although can be a little pricey, i'm of the ilk you only get what you pay for, and with clinique thats usually top quality stuff. I first used aromatics, when my gran bought me a bottle for my 18th birthday (some 13 years ago). My original thoughts when unwrapping this carefully selected gift (my grans idea of carefully selected is to give my mother 20 quid and say see what you can get for that luvvie) was "oh god if my gran's chosen it im either gonna smell of lavender or violets", how wrong was I. I loved it the minute I sprayed it. Now being an frivolous 18 year old, the bottle (i cant remember the size) didnt last me more than a month or so, I used it like there was no tomorrow, and subsequently being a penniless student, aromatics and I were never to be as one again until a couple of years ago. Now up until a few years back, Clinique products were mainly limited to the departments stores, you know Debenhams and the like, but a few months back whilst shopping for the usual shampoo, shower gel etc in my local Savers, I noticed they had a small perfume counter, and out of the corner of my beady eye, saw the familiar yellow packaging aromatics is synonymous with. Whilst the shop assistant rang up my other purchases I asked her the price and the size of
the bottle, and to my utter delight she told me that it ws £27 for a 45 ml bottle (the usual retail price from a dept store being £37 - £40). After humming and haaing for about hmmmm 5 seconds I snapped up a bottle at this knockdown price, all the time convincing myself of the bargain I had just procured. The bottle comes in a pale yellow/gold box with gold writing, and the bottle is plain and simple, no naked torso shaped bottles for Clinique, no sireeee!! a slimline clouded glass bottle, with a gold lid, full of pure luxury. Now I'm not an expert on perfume, and couldnt tell you a top note from my elbow, but I know what I like and I like this,,,,,a lot. It is fairly heavy when first sprayed, so I'd say if youre using this for the first time, be stingy at first and then if you havent sprayed enough, you can top it up. It isn't a perfume I would wear through the day, as its pretty strong, and say if you work in close proximity to others could be a little overpowering, its more for special occasions, and I feel the usual price of it reflects this. Ive heard mixed reviews from family and friends, and whilst most of them love it, a few have commented that it smells like airfreshner. A little of this perfume goes a long way, and just one spray of it will linger on your skin for ages, hence the advice to be a little stingy with it. Overall this perfume is one of my all time favourites, and has been around since 1971, paying testament to the fact this is a fragrance loved by many generations. I'm running low on my current bottle. Just in time for santa to decide whether I.'ve been a good enough girl to deserve another bottle of my favourite sniffy stuff.
Whilst strolling through my mindless weekly shop in asda, one aisle I tend to linger around the longest is the skincare/make up aisle. Why? Because like any woman I guess I am looking for something that will live up to every promise and actually do what it says. Im sick of products claiming to "make skin look visibly younger in 10 days", or "with one application you will see immediate benefits". Yeah right. But the thing is we're all striving to hang on to our youthful looks, our smooth as a baby's bottom complexion, (thing is I never really ever had a smooth as a baby's butt complexion). From my early teens right up until my early thirties I have always suffered the odd spot, blemish, or mount vesuvius type boil, and it usually happens at a crucial point in my life, eg job interviews, first dates the list goes on. Anyway, I digress. Whilst loitering in the skin care aisle like a virgin loitering around a condom counter, I was especially looking for something that would promise me baby smooth skin, costing less than a fiver, and didnt take too much time to apply. What? I hear you say, all that from a fiver, from a supermarket chain. Well, i've found my miracle and aint nobody taking it away - nevaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. The product i'm talking about is a wonderous little invention from skin care "experts" neutrogena, called CLEAR PORE TREATMENT. I have the dreaded combination skin, you know the scenario, greasy forehead, nose and chin and dry patches everywhere else. Not a pretty site, and as I mentioned before I still get the odd breakout of spots. Would this little "miracle in a tube" make me look like Helena Christiensen??? Read on to find out. Now although I have combination skin, I also suffer the dreaded "flakes", you know those flaky bits down the side of your nose that you try and exfoliate but they always seem to come back. Actually these
are just a build up of sebum (grease) and they just cling to your skin til sloughed away (although as Ive already said thise has to be done on a regular basis for them to stay away). The makers claim this product is "specifically formulated to help clear blocked pores so it helps reduce the risk of blackheads, spots and other blemishes", so I thought for a fiver I'll give it a go. The product comes in a 30ml flip top bottle, nothing flashy just plain and simple packaging. On the back of the box there is a table showing clinical results form 1 to 3 weeks treatment. After 3 weeks they claim that you should have:- 1 Visibly smoother skin 2 Improved skin clarity 3 improved skin texture (is there a difference between texture and clarity???) 4 fewer blocked pores 5 fewer blemishes 5 improved overall complexion The active ingredient in this product is primarily salicylic acid which although can make some peoples skin dry, in my case I found exactly the opposite. Did I Get My Fiver's Worth Too right did I. This has been the best skin care product I've ever bought that does exactly what it says it does. My skin is much smoother (I don't have the dreaded flaky bits around my nose, I was beginning to look like the singing detective prior to using it), the texture of my skin is so much smoother and feels a lot firmer. And guess what, I dont have a single blemish or blackhead in sight. Believe me over the years I have tried alsorts of skin treatments, some got rid of my spots but my face resembled a belisha beacon (not a pretty sight), some got rid of the odd spot over time (but I think the spots were on their way out anyway) but none of them did what this little gem called neutrogena clear pore treatment did. The product is meant to be used after you cleanse your face at night (I use clinique make up remover not too harsh to counteract
the salicylic acid), all you do is pop a little bit of the gel onto a clean finger and rub it over the affected area (I tend to go for my nose and forehead), it takes less than a minute to dry, and voila youre ready to bed down whilst this little gem goes to work. It has a bit of a chemically smell to it but its not overpowering and once the gel has dried in the smell is gone. You need to wash it off on a morning as it does have a tendency to peel if you dont, and then just follow your usual make up routine. Ive been using this for six weeks now, and have found such a big difference in my skin, in fact I feel so much more confident that I wear a tinted moisturiser through the day rather than go for the more heavier foundation. I'm not saying the is a "one for all beauty treatment" but it worked really well for me. Five pounds isnt a lot to pay for a product which has lasted me six weeks and im still only half way through the tube. Well done neutrogena - a truly great product (well for me anyway). And did it make me look like Helena Christiensen, the answer is a resounding NO, but hell's bell's what did I expect for a fiver, miracles???
I had never used Original Source Products until I got some free through the post, and thought summat for nowt why not!! Original source claim that they use pure essential oils in all of their products, and I've found everyone that I used lived up to my expectations, especially the one in going to review. Original Source Almond and Orange Moisturising body wash comes in a 300ml clear bottle, simple but nice packaging. It says that It can be applied by hand, sponge, flannel or puff. I found the puff to be the most effective way as you need little and it goes a long way - the product claims if used with a puff it can last up to 60 washes (I think that is a slight overestimation but I suppose that depends how generous or stingy you are). The smell is not too overpowering, it has a nice orangey smell which is not too citrusy, I think thats coz the almond tones it down making it more subtle. I applied it with a puff whilst in the shower and Im amazed to say I didnt need more than one apllication to cover my entire body. The smell is very subtle on the skin afterwards (not too overpowering like many body washes can be), and left my skin as smooth as a baby's bottom (obviously minus the nappy rash). Original Source also do not test any of their products on animals or use ingredients which have been tested on animals, another nice bonus. Overall this product is one I would recomend to anyone. It was priced at the relatively cheap £1.49 for a 300 ml bottle in my local asda. Apart from coming in a 300ml size it also comes in 25 ml sizes (handy if youre going for a short break). original source have their own website (dunno whether I can post the addy on here so better not but just do a google search) and if you register they send you free samples for 8 weeks of different products - freebies cant beat em.