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pearlydewdrop
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Member since: 01.03.2008

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    • Tips on Coping / Parenting Issue / 52 Readings / 49 Ratings
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      17.08.2008 19:10
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      Just some ideas to help all us parents on the way!

      Coping with a baby and young infant is incredibly difficult; old or young, fat or thin, rich or poor, parents struggle with their children and the pressures that are put on them from a demanding outside world. I know that when I had my daughter, my first child, I never could have anticipated the level of judgement made by outside parties on my parenting skills or my childs behaviour and abilities. Even as my child is preparing to start school in September, I am preparing myself for additional pressures of being a parent....the competitive Mums at the school gate, the demands of an overly bureaucratic education system (and the enormous stress it puts on our young children and teenagers), and the material pressures of ensuring my child doesnt 'go without'. The stress of parenthood is neverending, but the fact that it is a richly rewarding vocation is a real consolation! Here are some of the tips I have gained so far on my journey through parenthood- I hope they help you cope with the ups and downs of rearing kiddies. Heres my survival guide for looking after 0-18 month olds:


      ~0-3 Months~
      ------------------

      I never enjoyed the newborn baby phase at all. They are beautiful bundles of joy, but not very exciting to be with at this stage. They are COMPLETELY dependent on you, and there is barely a moment to breathe between feeding, nappy changing, bathing, and crying (you and the baby at times!). Coping at this stage is par for the course, because at least you can tell yourself that things can only get better! On top of having a demanding baby at this point, many mothers find that they are stretched emotionally and physically by the limitations of their own birth weary bodies. I know I felt as though I was falling apart at the seams! Heres some ideas for coping with this stage-

      *Look After Yourself*

      This concept has helped me all through difficult phases. If a mother (well both parents) doesnt look after herself nutritionally, emotionally and physically when she has a young baby, then the task in hand becomes incredibly difficult and not much joy can be gained from it. I knew that, come hell or high water, I had to retain some of my past independent life and that meant putting on some slap in the morning, having a decent breakfast, and enjoying a nice bath or shower.

      Remember, if you feel awful and stretched to the limit, then the baby will suffer for it. Putting your needs a bit higher in priority than 'after the dog' will make you feel close to normal again. I know this is easier said than done, especially if your baby is feeding every hour or so, but if your baby has had all it needs for the moment (food, a change, a bit of attention etc...), then there is no shame in allowing yourself a bit of pamper time. Have a nice sleep whilst baby is napping, or take a bath (take monitor in bathroom or leave bathroom door open), or sit at your dressing table and put your make-up on. Maybe start a book or magazine. Bliss.

      *Go For Long Walks*

      This idea is great. Long walks into town with a newborn. Invigorating, and lovely when people comment on your adorable little one! Fresh air helps clear the old mental cobwebs away, and I feel my anxieties and stress ebb away as I take in the sights and sounds of a world still going on as normal. If youre couped up indoors with an infant, you can slowly feel your sanity drift away- adult voices and the usual goings of life inject some normality into what can be a quite tiresome routine at times.

      *Get As Much Sleep As Possible*

      Share night feeds with your partner. My husband was a saint. He even made feeds for the day up in baby bottles for me the evening before, so that if the chance arose I could use spare moments to nap.

      Have baby in a moses basket by the bed for a bit, so that trips for night feeds arent long and drawn out. You can just lift baby into bed with you, or else sit in a nursing chair, in the bedroom, then retire to bed once baby is settles again.

      Grab the chance for a nap when baby is asleep. Only the bare essentials of housework need to be done. Hand washing over to helpful relatives and try to relax abit. No one is built to be a 'superwoman' at this time, its not possible.


      ~3-6months~
      --------------------------

      This stage is a transitional one really. Your baby becomes more animated and interesting, and demanding in many ways. I enjoy this phase more than the newborn time, because the babys character is showing. However, if your child is showing signs of being a miserable disposition or overly clingy, then I can imagine it would be tough and very draining. Babies of this age are sitting up, and are beginning to take solids. Tips out to the shops are more interesting, as you can select vegetables and fruit for weaning purposes, and begin to chat more to the baby. Heres some more ideas for surviving parenthood-

      *Talk and Interact with Your Baby*

      I always believed that my baby understood a lot more than she could convey, at a very young age. Your facial expressions and chatting to a young baby can seriously advance their communication abitities at a later date. I would comment on the colours of things when we went out "Look at the red car, Amelia", and I would sing the alphabet to her. If I hadnt talked to her during the day, I would have found being a stay ay home Mum very boring. She was my company, and we had to build a relationship from scratch.

      *Dont Fear the Weaning Process*

      My girlie didnt take to milk at all, so weaning onto solid food at 4 1/2 months was a blessed relief for me. I enjoyed every minute of it, and made sure that I smiled and encouraged Amelia vigorously as I fed her new foods. I was determind to make this a good experience. I kept a little notebook tracking the foods Id weaned her onto, and if she liked them/had a reaction to them/ was sick etc.... If you set out to enjoy the weaning process, half the stress is lost. Also, dont worry if your baby rejects a certain food, their palate is very young- give it a week or two and try again. If they continue to reject it, then maybe its time to accept that even babies have tastes and preferences too!


      ~6months-1year~
      -----------------------

      Things start to get a bit interesting here. The old 'separation anxiety' may start to kick in. Babies start to fuss and become fretful the minute the favoured parent/carer leaves the room. This is natural, as they have no concept of time, and cant fathom that just because a person has disappeared from eyeshot for a second doesnt mean they will be gone forever. In their mind, out of sight means you may never return. Its very irritating when a baby screams if you leave their side, but we all need to visit the bathroom from time to time! Just smile and reassure your baby that you will return quickly, and then greet them with a joyful reunion. Lots of kisses.

      At this stage, independent thought is also coming to the fore. Babies begin to crawl, and some even toddle before 12 months, so a conflict between freedom from the parent and reliance on the parent can surface. The odd temper tantrum can even arise as they grapple with this concept of being a separate entity. The key to limiting stress is to respect their freedoms by safety proofing your house as much as possible. Move precious ornaments out of reach, hide your make-up away, pad the corners of your coffee table, and cover power sockets. That way, stress is kept to a minimum, and frustrations are hopefully nipped in the bud!


      ~1year-18months~
      ------------------------

      Wow! A little person is really emerging now. A conflict between parental personalities and the fledgling childs character can be seen. If you are, by nature, a quiet, sensible person, then an energetic, chatty toddler can be a strain. Remember that for them to develop into well rounded individuals, they may need to go with other people, with other personalities (to give you a break too!). This is where friends and relatives may wish to take over for an afternoon or two. See if anyone would like to take them to the park for a bit. This gives you breathing space.

      *Enjoy baths? Well, Have One with Your Toddler~

      Ive always loved having a bath with Amelia. From as early as when she could sit up unaided, I would have her in a lovely bubbly tub with me. I determind that bathtime would be fun, relaxing, and a great opportunity to teach Amelia to be proud of her body. By having a bath with her, I knew that it would limit any hang ups. I tell her all the time how beautiful she is.

      *Try the Library*

      Libraries are fantastic for even very young kids. They teach them the magic of books, having an imagination, meeting people in their community, and understanding the need for people to have quiet sometimes to read or think. Try this outing regularly, and you'll see that the library can be a good destresser and a great educational forum.



      I hope my ideas for coping help you. Thanks for reading xx

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        16.08.2008 20:43
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        A good, all round cleansing and moisturising wipe. Great used in conjuction with Simples range

        I suffer from seriously sensitive skin, and as I approach my third decade of life, Im not finding it is easing any! My complexion has always been a bit temperamental- the blemishes and spots of the teenage years have largely gone, but now i get dry patches, mild eczema, and flushing. I guess my skin is combination type, but also easily aggravated by perfumes, cheap cosmetic chemicals, the weather, what I eat, and stress! As a result, to keep all these variables in check, I have to be selective about both the make-up I use and the facial wipes I use to remove the old slap. In South Essex, where I live, our water is hard, and so I always use face wipes to remove make-up. The hard water also irritates my skin, so a good, hypo-allergenic, all purpose face wipe is what Ive searched for. The Simple Cleansing Face Wipes, Ive found, are pretty reliable and effective, and heres why:


        ~What are Simple Cleansing Face Wipes?~
        ------------------------------------------------------

        The Simple brand has long been known for its claim to be 'not perfumed, not coloured, just kind'. This statement sums up the requirements I have from a typical cleansing face wipe. Sensitive skins dont want to be attacked by heavy perfume, or harsh chemicals, and so 'simply' want a gentle solution for facial cleansing.

        Simple Cleansing face wipes claim to remove all traces of make-up, including waterproof mascara. They are 100% alcohol free (a known irritant to sensitive skins), 100% oil free (and thus light feeling, and non-comedogenic- dont block pores), and are PH balanced to complement the skins natural PH level.

        These facial wipes do not have, to my knowledge, any added cosmetic benefits aside from being non-irritant, hydrating, cleansing, and fresh feeling. They dont, therefore, have added ingrediants such as vitamin C for skin radiance, aloe vera to ease redness, or other minerals and vitamins. I think this is fine if you use a separate moisturiser to satisfy your other beauty needs, but if you're looking for a one-step cleanse, tone, and moisturise solution, then these wipes arent for you.


        ~What Is the Packaging Like? How Many Wipes are included?~
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Simple Cleansing face wipes are kept moist in a pale green plastic package. On the face of the pack is a white adhesive opening, so that when you open the pack to use a wipe, you are able to reseal it again.

        Simples slogan of 'no colour', and 'no perfume' is printed, in white type across the packaging, and a pink sticker is seen on the top right hand corner claiming that Simple is the "No.1 UK cleanser brand".

        There are 25 wipes in a pack, which does me for about a month. Im shrewd and cut each cloth in half when I use it, because 1 wipe is almost always too sodden with cleansing liquid to do a single morning cleanse. I can then use the remaining half at night, when I take my make-up off.


        ~How Much?~
        ------------------

        It varies from retail outlet to retail outlet, but averages about £2.19. Ive managed to get these wipes for £1.99 in Sainsburys, but this may be a flukey offer!


        ~Are They Any Good?~
        -----------------------------

        These wipes are great. I used to be loyal to Neutrogena wipes, but they proved to be a bit too wet and rich for me. Simple wipes arent smothered in a heavy formulation of moisturisers, but still feel effective. My dry patches arent as obvious, and I certainly dont get any spot outbreaks. I just feel that these are the nearest thing to clean, fresh water, on your skin, as is possible to find. That appeals to me!

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          02.08.2008 19:15
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          Prostitution is a fact, deal with it, its not going to go away

          There are two central issues, I think, in the argument as to whether prostitution should be legalised or not: 'Is prostitution morally acceptable?, and 'Should its moral acceptance have any bearing on whether we protect women from harm, or not?'.


          The fact of the matter is, like many social ills, prostitution is, and probably forever will be a fact of life. Sex is a benefit of existance that some people either cant develop in the confines of a healthy relationship, or else it is an experience which various individuals cant get enough of- and this insatiable desire cant be fulfilled in a relationship alone, and so further gratification is sought outside of the meaningful union in their lives. At the other end of the equation is the prostitute..the service provider, shall we say. Prostitutes are essentially of two sorts: the lower-class' working-girl who simply sells her body for sex to either feed a drug habit/other debts or else to make a reasonable living when they have limited educational skills (I would say you either have low self-esteem to venture down this road, or a desperate need for money, because frankly, at this end of the market, the sexual clientele arent very tempting); the other form of prostitute is the more glamourised end of the spectrum, the likes of Belle du Jour perhaps. These women are termed 'High-class Prostitutes', and claim that they adore sex, are sex-addicts, or else are well-educated women who want to act as escorts and sexual gurus for worn-out businessmen. Such women assert that they are not being exploited by men, rather they are using their sexuality and sensuous nature to relieve men of their money and a few other burdens. Some insist that they are in the driving seat, and merely being paid to fulfil their own sexual needs and drives. This may be true, to some extent, but I personally feel that these women are deluding themselves; even though, at the time of being a prostitute they may feel that they are in control, selling your body, daily, must eat away at your soul. Youve got to be a very tough, or very detached sort of woman to do perform this act for money, everyday.


          I guess the ideas of sexual exploitation of women, and the erosion of the soul through continual 'violation' of the body, for money, are the main reasons why prostitution is largely socially unacceptable. The spread of STDs must also be a consideration. Religious communities and other sections of society believe that prostitution is a morally corrupt act which serves to lower societies values. I understand this, obviously, because as a mother I dont particularly want to live in a red-light district. My 4 year old doesnt need to be told about people buying and selling sex, or why they exchange money for drugs etc.....However, Im not so dumb as to think that we can perpetuate a myth of a eutopian world, to our children, and pretend that butterflies and daisies are all that theyll ever see. I also know that turning a blind eye or self-righteously condemning prostitutes for their behaviour only shifts the pain to these unfortunate women- they will always be victims whilst we shame them and dont protect them.


          Ok, so we can all be puritanical and judgemental, thats the easy part, but legalising prostitution will mean that we have to TACKLE the sex industry head on, in its full glory and well...sordidness. Sometimes I think the nation would rather sweep lifes ugly realities under the carpet than deal with the facts we face. If we legalise prostitution and create working brothels, safe areas for working girls, then society is going to have to accept that prostitutes are people worthy of protection and respect like anyone else. I just dont think some sections of the UK population are ready for that (they are too pompous and 'holier than thou'), but then maybe that means we must go ahead and legalise prostitution. Give responsible, sensible prostitutes access to healthcare, counselling, and a safe environment to 'perform' their role- all the while giving them the opprotunity to explore the option of giving up their lifestyle. Prostitutes need to be included in society, be involved in dialogue, and spoken to like humans. Maybe this treatment will renew these women's self-respect; well, middle England couldnt have that, could it?


          I dont agree with prostitution per se; I wouldnt do it. However, Im not going to preach to people who have their own reasons for pursuing this avenue in life. Oh and there must be reasons, no-one wanders into prostitution without having suffered in life, or else sacrificed something of themselves to give up their body. Even high-class prostitutes must consider all the ramifications of their chosen career. Sex is a fact of life, and men will buy it like any other product on offer. Women can sell their bodies, like any other commodity, and boy does sex sell.


          What makes me laugh is women are routinely condemned for being dirty for selling themselves, but doesnt anybody think that men who buy sex are just as disrespectful to their own bodies? Few people look at why men feel the need to sink the depths of human nature to sleep with a worn out addict, or ill prostitute? I mean, what does that make them? Surely men are wrong to exploit women for sex? Still, ultimately, women can choose whether they allow a man to treat them as an object for abuse. It is a two-way street though.


          In effect, I do think prostitution should be legalised and policed. These women need help and protection, and whilst we all sit on our pedastal of morality, such women are being maligned and condemned for fulfilling a necessary role in society. Its awful really, but at least this way they might be recognised and helped.

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          • Marks & Spencer Percy Pigs / Sweets / 45 Readings / 39 Ratings
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            31.07.2008 17:59
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            Buy them, you wont regret it!

            Mmmmmmmmmmm Percy Pig soft gum sweets, by none other than Marks and Spencer, are one of my all time favourite sweets. I first discovered these confectionary gems when an M & S opened up in my local service station, and I happened to wander in there for some milk. Fatal error, as I am now an official addict of these deliciously juicy and fruity chewy sweets.


            ~What are Percy Pig Sweets?~
            ----------------------------------------

            Percy Pig are a variety of soft, gummy sweets that are made from real fruit juice. Appearance-wise, they are a pale/opaque pink piggy face with deeper, clear pink ears. They look appetising because they arent fussy or artificially looking.

            These sweets are made with no artificial colours or flavourings, and contain real fruit juice. As a result, they are satisfyingly fruity, with a tangy berry like taste. I think they have a taste not unlike strawberry and cherry combined (weird since neither are included in the contents!). Yum yum. When you bite into them, they are pleasantly chewy, but soft too. They arent tough like wine gums or midget gems. I would say they are suitable for kiddies aged 3 and upwards who are adept at chewing, as they do involve a bit of jaw action!

            If I had to describe these sweets in one word, it would be MOUTHWATERING. They are incredibly morerish, and a standard 170g bag can be polished off in one sitting in my home!!!


            ~Price~
            -----------

            The packs come in various sizes from M and S stores, and BP service stations allied to M and S. My 170g bag cost me about £1.60, which is steep, but I must have paid a premium in a BP station! Shop around and sample them is the best thing to do I think.


            ~Ingrediants~
            --------------------

            I think you'll agree, the contents of these sweets are suprisingly acceptable to even us cautious parents! Just be sure to clean your teeth everyone!

            Glucose syrup~Sugar~Pork Gelatine~Apple and Orange Juice from Concentrate~Citric Acid~Gelling Agent:Pectin~Fruit Concentrates (Elderberry, Grape, Blackcurrant)~Natural Flavourings~Glazing Agent:Bee's Wax~


            Calorific Content:

            25 calories per sweet

            335 calories per 100g


            Hoep you enjoy these tasty little darlings!

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            • The Jeremy Kyle Show / TV Programme / 41 Readings / 38 Ratings
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              29.07.2008 15:55
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              A terrible talk show that resolves nothing and shows human nature in its worst light

              Am I the only person out there who wouldnt want to go on Jeremy Kyle's show? What exactly is the point of this man, and why does he present himself as some kind of pervayor of quality advice? He certainly puts himself on a moral pedastal, and preaches to people who, frankly, need more than a 'stern talking to' to get their lives straight. Its classic depression and anger inducing tv- why do I want to witness benefits cheats and poor parenting on my television? God, if these people had any common sense, they certainly wouldnt be going on the Jeremy Kyle Show for sensible advise and counsel!?


              The Jeremy Kyle Show is really a glorified UK version of Jerry Springer, and other substandard talk shows. The premise is, that the nations misfits, has-beens and loonytoons (as my old Dad puts it) congregate on Jeremy Kyles stage to absorb his words of wisdom, and so mend their crazy ways. Exactly what counselling credentials does this guy have? In my view, he's simply parading a bunch of sad cases on national TV for personal ego gratification. He actually makes a living out of saying things like "If you dont mend your ways, and commit to this detox program, you'll have me to answer to!", and "Call me old fashioned but why are you sleeping with your step-dad?". With pearls of wisdom like that, and such an amazing eloquence, no wonder he's our modern day Clare Raynor.


              The standard cases on this daytime tv programme include drug addiction, teenage parenthood, paternity disputes, the ravages of drink, and child abandonment. Occasionally he will analyse a specific issue in a kind of 'focus' programme; he will invite brave children on his show, or tackle religious cults. Is there nothing this man wont challenge in the name of sentimental, sensationist tv?! Maybe Im being a bit harsh, but rather than dealing with social problems, this style of tv glorifies it. Ok, so he tries to talk down or humiliate his guests into seeking professional help for their problems (which are incidentally broadcasted as quite distasteful entertainment around the UK), but are there any winners from such a horrible exploitation of woeful peoples misfortunes and difficulties.


              Frankly, if some of his poor guests had better self-esteem and a little more intellect, they wouldnt want to air their 'dirty laundry' on national tv. This is why I think its a basically exploitative relationship between Kyle and his guests. This programme is manipulating people who dont know any better, and just squeezing the last ounce of self-respect from their sad carcasses.


              Actually, its quite sad to see some guest wanting a medal or something for going to work, or being a full-time Mum; like in society, it is that easy to opt out of your responsibilities, should you wish to. Quite worrying really, isnt it? There is a class of people, a number of generations even, who have made a career out of not working or indeed raising feckless adults. Life, for them, it appears, is one long drama of sexual promiscuity, text abuse, swapping partners, and having illegitimate kiddies. If thats not the case, then surely this programme is doing us all a disservice by implying that this is the case.


              I wont deny that sometimes its intriguing to see mixed up people talk about their problems and dilemmas, but it does get a bit wearing when you know that Kyle's 'serious chats' dont make one iota of difference to the guests. Perhaps there is the odd spark of inspiration from a guest or two, but I cant imagine many 'see the light' longterm from having consulted Mr Kyle. Social problems run too deep, resources are to scarce- it seems as though the horse has already bolted from the stable!


              I just think that in his endeavour to appear a Mr Sincerity, Jeremy Kyle, seems patronising, shallow and plain irritating. I mean, what makes him judge and jury?

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                24.07.2008 20:12
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                An awful illness, but seek medical help and you and your little one will come through stronger

                For a long time now Ive side-stepped over talking openly or even writing about my experience of Post-Natal depression- some of it is down to a slight tinge of shame about my illness, and part is related to not wanting to dredge it all up and ponder those awful feelings again. Theres just a small part of me that hates revisiting that hellish time, and almost wants to avoid admitting to myself that I went through, and survived the dark days. Perhaps writing this honest account will be a bit cathartic for me, and will enable me to feel proud of my achievements as a mother- especially in the face of such overwhelmingly bad emotions. Dont get me wrong, Im very happy with how Ive developed as a mother, but theres still that little twinge of regret that exists inside me...the sadness that I didnt have the fairytale early days of motherhood that so many people enjoy. Still, this is my story, and its made me a stronger, better person, so perhaps it was meant to be.


                My pregnancy wasnt planned, but I was delighted nonetheless. I had a wonderful partner of 2 and 1/2 years. We lived together, and both had full time jobs at the time. Unfortunately, I experienced a lot of negativity which bordered on bullying at work- from two middle aged women with a pretty harsh attitude to pregnant workers (ie, dont think you can skive now youre pregnant attitude). I regularly got uncourted comments such as "Just because your pregnant your not special/sick" and "Its natural to be neurotic, youre pregnant". Looking back I cant believe I actually took that kind of treatment. The turning point came when I actually reported my boss for mistreating me. I had a scan scheduled, and she had allowed me just an 1hr to get to the hospital and back (bearing in mind I dont drive). I also wasnt allowed water on my desk, so when exactly could I drink enough for a scan? Anyway, I walked into her office and said "Im sorry but I dont think an hour will give me enough time", she replied quite agressively "Well, what DO you want then?!", as if I was the most difficult person in the world. Her deputy heard it all and supposedly warned her she was on dodgy territory talking to me like that as I was a good worker- Id actually had no sick time during my pregnancy. I reported her to my line manager and she was disciplined. My boss still retorted that it was my pregnancy hormones making me sensitive! Yeah right.


                So, as you can imagine, that lack of support at work made me feel vulnerable early on in my days of motherhood. When it came to delivery day, things took a turn for the worse. I had a very traumatic delivery. Amelia was in distress, and I had to be cut quite horribly. There was meconium evident, and everything became extremelly fraught. I lost a lot of blood and was barely fit to breastfeed, and yet my child was just stuck on me whilst I was semi-conscious. Not a great bonding experience.


                Whilst I stayed overnight in the hospital, the nurses were extremelly busy, and I muddled through trying to breastfeed a baby continually through the night. I hadnt a clue what to do, and I just felt like an incumberance, a burden, a useless, clueless mother. I managed to shelve those thoughts at the time, and managed to present to everyone; family, friends, and medical professionals, the illusion of a very together, happy new Mum.


                Another incident which made me feel quite bad as a first-time Mum was a midwife who told me, in private, that she thought my husband was bullying me into trying bottle-feeding because he wanted to selfishly feed our child sometimes. I just dont think it was good of a midwife to enter paronoid, doubting thoughts into my head the minute I need sound, honest advice on feeding my baby. When I look back I feel disgusted that a medical professional got me at such a vulnerable time, and tried to manipulate me into not trusting my husband (who incidentally wanted to help feed my child, so that I could rest and recover a bit) and also made me feel like I couldnt approach a nurse with a question for fear of being spoken to like a naughty child. Not a good start.


                To cut a long story short, through more bad medical advice I got mastitis (see my review on mastitis for more info), and was pretty ill. The agony of not being able to hold my baby was awful, and again made me feel pretty worthless. It also didnt help that I had to inject myself daily with clexane, a blood thinning drug (which left my thighs very swollen and black and blue) for 6 weeks. With the cut down below, and this horrible injection, I felt like a pin cushion. The pain from my breasts included added to a sense of despair. All I wanted was to feel well and able to care for my baby.


                All through this time I maintained a air of relative calm, shrugging off my problems to all around me..knowing that I couldnt cave in as my baby needed me. Im stubborn and I think this enabled me to decieve people into thinking "Wow, shes so brave, shes doing amazingly"; seeking help, admitting my low feelings would have made me appear weak (i thought) and a pathetic mother. To be frank, I was holding on mentally for my wedding day, scheduled for when my daughter was 4 months old. I just had to seem 'normal' until after then.


                Just before my wedding, my baby suffered from awful reflux. She cried almost 8 hours one day. Even my Mum, a mother of 4 children, was reduced to tears when she couldnt calm my child. Even her confidence was dented. I was at the end of my tether, and got little support from the hospital. In the end, I weaned my daughter a couple of weeks before my wedding, and her symptoms steadily subsided. The calm after the storm. You wouldve thought that wouldve boosted my confidence in my abilities as a mother, but all I felt was empty. A tired, mentally ravaged shell of a person; simply operating like a robot from day to day.


                After my wedding day, which passed in a blur, the relative calm at home gave me space to think. Yes, think about all we'd gone through as a family over the weeks. Destructive, negative thoughts came crashing in, and I allowed myself to collapse. I admitted to my husband that I was depressed when I almost walked out in front of a car (whilst my Mum in law had my daughter in a shop)...I wanted it to appear an accident so that all my stress and worries would disappear. I sought help from my health visitor and GP, and my Mum came over every day to keep me company. I contined to care for my baby, I was strong enough not to let her go. I didnt leave the problem so long that puperal psychosis could set in, so my recovery was pretty fast.


                My daughter was born in the May, I admitted I had post-natal depression in the October, and by Christmas, I was seeing the light. The anti-depressants I was put on worked very well, and the following February I was caring for my daughter full-time whilst resuming my Open University studies. At the end of that bright, new year I had achieved a distinction in that module of my degree. Life was happier, I felt more normal, and my daughter was a wonderful little sweetheart.


                I still have episodes of depression every now and then. A kind of crisis when I feel particularly low- especially if Im physically ill and cant cope well. However, Im as near to normal as i'll ever be now, and life is good. Never give up. PND is a chemical illness, not a weakness or indication of poor mothering. Seek help for yourself, so that you can enjoy your baby- dont let emotions and stress ruin this magical time.

                Thanks for reading x

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                  24.07.2008 19:08
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                  Id rather my daughter was kept as safe as possible and enjoys structured supervised activities

                  Talk about a contentious issue! Still, its certainly relevant to us parents, especially with all the recent coverage of alleged child abduction, kidnapping, holding of children hostage for years in basements, and child-trafficking. Frightening, of course, but is the supposed danger simply media scaremongering? How do we, as parents and carers, ensure that we take a responsible line in protecting our children, but also enabling them to have freedoms like we did as kids.


                  I was born in 1980, and I remember my Mum and Dad having few qualms about allowing me to play out the front of the house, with friends, probably from the age of 7. I was even entrusted with my younger brother (about 4 years difference), and felt obliged to kept an eye on all the younger kiddies. My parents educated me in the threat of strangers, but I was never terrified of people outside of the home- I had a healthy wariness, thats all. I think the adults of my childhood had three main concerns about us playing in the street, and these worries are essentially the same issues that we ponder today, as modern day parents.

                  1. Road Traffic

                  2. Abduction/The Stranger Threat

                  3. Wandering too far/Mucking About and Having a Nasty Accident.


                  So, what has changed? Why are we so scared to allow our children out of our sight? My parents always trusted us to stay within eye and earshot, and that belief in us was enough for us to enjoy our freedom and not abuse it. I know its a cliche, but my parents knew most of the neighbours that surrounded our terraced house, and pretty much all of the parents who had kiddies. The other parents would check on us from time to time, and we would trudge in and out of each others homes getting our obligatory drinks, food, and toys stash. Of course, thinking back, I can think of a few shady adults who lived or walked up our street and said hello to us- people who would strike the fear of God into us parents now, should we encounter them chatting with our little ones. So, did my parents just have more faith in human nature than me? My parents lived through the Hindley and Brady Moors Murders, and my Dad was abused by a man posing as a policeman in the 1950s, so surely they must have had the same fears as we do?


                  When I analyse my behaviour in public with my 4 year old, I think Im very vigilant and cannot stand to lose sight of her for one moment. I once took her to a bouncy castle day in a large Essex park, and I momentarily found her merge into a crowd of youngers- my heart pounded, my mind was absorbed in rising panic as I scanned the park enclosure. That feeling was awful, and I cannot explain the sense of relief I felt when a friend had found Amelia panicking, like her old Mum, but instead at the top of a crazy bouncy castle! I pretty much always expect her to hold my hand or stay very close to me in the town centre, and I actually find myself getting quite angry and snappy if she disappears out of sight for a minute. I mean, is this normal, or is it a reaction to the moral panics reported in the media? I would be lying if I said Madeline McCanns disappearance didnt affect me. However, shoot me down in flames for saying what I think, but I wouldnt have left my child in an appartment alone...simple as (although of course they didnt deserve their child being abducted!...it just seems daft to tempt paedophiles etc by leaving your child unattended). I might add, I wouldnt leave my child in my home alone for 10 minutes whilst I popped to the corner shop for some milk- tucked up in bed or not.


                  Anyway, my kiddie is 4 years old, and I cant justify leaving her unattended for any period of time in a public place. It feels wrong, it panics me, and that worry comes from somewhere. Its such a shame really, but I dont want to take a chance with my daughter. She is allowed to go to friends houses where a Mum will watch her, I take her to the park, the library, the towncentre, etc, but she cant play out the front of our flat. No way. That is a risk Im not prepared to take, because I couldnt live with myself if she got hurt, and it was avoidable.


                  I personally think that, in the modern day, we need to support our children to become confident adolescents and adults. So, when they are young, they need structured extra curricular activities, without their parents, so that they can spread their wings a bit. Surely that must be the compromise? You cant smoother your kids and stifle their development, thats just grossly unfair, but freedoms have to be tempered with responsible adult boundaries and control. Its sad, but gone are the days when I would feel comfortable allowing a 7 year old to have a run about in a park or field alone. Thats just my view. However, we all want the best for our kids, dont we? Only thing is, what exactly is THE BEST?


                  Thanks for reading my opinion!

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                  • Scrap Books / Art / Craft / 56 Readings / 52 Ratings
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                    19.07.2008 16:36
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                    A handy little photo album just for your child to enjoy

                    Scrapbooks are enormous fun, especially for children. The type of scarpbook that Im going to describe to you, is one that I made with my little girl when she was about 12-18 months; it is, however, a great idea at any age, and the idea can be expanded upon as the child grows intellectually.


                    *A Photo Album Scrapbook*


                    This scrapbook is a glorified photo album that can be handled by young children whenever they want- without adult fears for their beautiful 'official' albums on display.

                    Creating a photo album for your infant only, means that you can design it to be attractive and appealing to them, and not worry if it gets torn or man-handled.


                    ~Why Make a Youngster a Photo Album?~
                    -----------------------------------------------------

                    Even pretty young babies will derive joy from looking at a homemade 'album' or scrapbook with pictures of their main family members inside. Flicking through the pages of this scrapbook, with your baby, allows them to identify family members and friends, and so form an early social attachment or recognition of the main people in their life.

                    As your child gets older, you could annotate the pictures with the relevant names, like 'Nanny', 'Daddy', 'Mummy', and 'Cousin Milly', for example. That way, they learn how the words for peoples names are spelt- the repeat exposure to this album could help speech and written language development. Furthermore, a preschool child might wish to add comments about the family members in question, such as: "Nannys favourite food is pasta", "Grandad loves gardening" etc.... They could even draw extra illustrations beside the photos in the album.


                    ~How to Make a Photo Album~
                    ---------------------------------------

                    You will require the following:


                    - A scrapbook (maybe with sugar paper pages inside)

                    - A pair of scissors

                    - A Glue stick

                    - Some old/spare photographs of family (ok to cut up)

                    - Felt Tips

                    - Sequins/Tissue Paper/ Any Embellishments you fancy

                    - Pretty Wrapping Paper

                    -White Sticky Labels



                    *What to Do*


                    1) Take your scrapbook and cover the front and back covers with wrapping paper. Stick it down with sellotape or pritstick. This will give you a nice front cover for your album.


                    2) On a sticky label, write "My Photo Album" (or "Amelias Photo Album" etc...). Decorate the front cover with anything else your child fancies...sequins, feathers, stickers, scrunched up tissue paper maybe.


                    3) Cut out some photos of your family and friends, and devote a page or two to each person. You can cut the photos in any shape you fancy, a heart, square, circle, whatever. If you're feeling creative, you could mount your photos on a separate piece of coloured sugar paper, and cut it so that you create a pretty border for your photos before you stick them in the album.


                    4) Write the family member or friends name at the top of the page, in the scrapbook, and underline in bright colours. Or decorate and annotate as you and your child want to. A picture of your little one could go in the inside cover, with their name written beneath too.


                    5) Stick the relevant persons photo beneath their name. Add more pictures, trinkets, photos, memories of that person as time passes (maybe a cinema ticket if your child went with their Nanny, or a squirt of Mummys favourite perfume).


                    6) This album can then be looked at as a subject of interest as your child grows. It doesnt matter if it becomes a bit thread bare, as its the kiddies special scrapbook/album for their personal use.



                    I hope you enjoy this little creative gem!

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                    • More +
                      18.07.2008 18:00
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                      This is a horrible ordeal for both parents and babies, but a necessary one!

                      Teething is a natural stage of physical development that all healthy babies go through. The unfortunate thing about it is that the signs of teething and the symptoms endured can be both varied and ambigious. Some little ones suffer very little, and make few complaints, whilst others experience extreme discomfort- even pain, as their teeth erupt.

                      Sadly, it is practically impossible to explain to a young baby why they must endure this miserable phase, and they arent able to understand reason at this age. The best that can be done is give them plenty of comfort, in the form of cuddles, painkilling remedies (medicinal, herbal, or in the form of 'teethers'), and plenty of fluids to replace those lost through copious drooling.



                      ~What is Teething?~
                      ---------------------------


                      Teething rate varies between babies. Some infants are born with a couple of teeth, whilst others dont get a tooth until they are 6 or 7 months, or even later sometimes. My daughter got her first tooth at 8 months, and then they came thick and fast. I actually lost track.

                      The more difficult teeth, pain and discomfort wise, are the dreaded molars- we, as adults, know this because of the trauma of wisdom teeth! Molars are obviously more problematic for babies than incisors, because they have more edges to cut through the gum and they are denser. Molars often make a first appearance between the ages of thirteen and eighteen months.



                      ~What are the Signs of Teething?~
                      ---------------------------------------------


                      Teething and teething pain are two separate issues. Teething babies who dont suffer particularly badly may just experience a bit of general upset or restlessness. They may drool more than usual, and gnaw at their bottle teat, dummy, or toys. Their hands and fingers may be thrust into their mouths a lot of the time in an effort to tease the teeth through the gum. The rubbing motion may ease the irritation of cutting teeth. When my daughter was teething, very often she seemed to be aggrivated by her teeth- like her gums were itching or burning with the friction of the teeth moving beneath the gum. The point just before they actually cut seems to be the most acute time for true pain, and relief is felt when the tooth actually surfaces.


                      *Teething Pain/Upset*


                      These symptoms could signify teething trouble:


                      - Flushed cheeks, often hot to the touch

                      - Rubbing of the ears, with the fists

                      - A runny nose/ saliva drooling from the mouth

                      - Runny stools ( from general upset or from putting mucky hands in their mouth alot to soothe discomfort)

                      - Restless/ disturbed sleep

                      - Whinging/ Crying/ Moaning/ Fretfulness



                      ~Remedies for Teething~
                      --------------------------------


                      Obviously the older the baby, the more scope you have for remedies. Old remedies include:


                      *Rubbing the gum with your clean wet finger*

                      *Teething biscuits such as 'Bickie Pegs'* Suitable from 6 months



                      I found the following very helpful:


                      *Topical Teething Gels* (Dentinox, Calgel, Bonjela all mild local anaesethics)

                      *Teethers* Especially the ones that are cooled in the refridgerator

                      *Nurofen for Children or Calpol for Infants* (Particularly at night-time)

                      *Chamomile Sachets* (I bought these for my daughter from Boots.)



                      So, there you have it. Teethting is a miserable old affair, but the main thing is to be on hand for your baby with lots of cuddles and love. Distraction and plenty of rest should help too.

                      Thanks for reading! x

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                      • Education System / Parenting Issue / 45 Readings / 42 Ratings
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                        17.07.2008 10:14
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                        Home and school need to work in unison to get the best out of kids

                        The education system in the UK is passable I think, but nothing special. However, I believe that the education of a child is primarilly the parents responsibility, regardless of whether your child is school age or not. I dont think parents, working-class, middle-class or upper-class, should abrigate their responisibilties to their child immediately they enter the formal education system.


                        The failures of the education system have to be made up for by the parents. No-one can expect their child to do well, in this day and age, without putting in extra effort at home. I dont mean sending them to Kumon Maths, or whatever, or drumming into them their 10x tables, but rather ensuring that quality, fun learning time is spent with the kiddie. Everything outside of school is an educational experience, and the little chats we have with our children about the world around us shouldnt stop because weve thrust them into formal education. Teachers have too much to contend with nowadays; broken families, the threat of child abduction, food allergies, political correctness, unreasonable class sizes amongst other things, so it stands to reason that we, as parents, have to bridge the gap.


                        Im feeling this situation more acutely than most at the moment, maybe, because my daughter is due to start school in September. As far as I can tell, from reputation and Ofsted reports, my daughters school is fairly good. This , nevertheless, is not enough for my husband and I, and we know that the teacher will be stretched with her class size to capacity at 27 children. Ok, so she has a classroom assistant, but we all know that teachers have pressures and government 'targets' to reach, and in this 'mess' of demands the needs of the children, as individuals, can be lost a bit. We have to, as her parents, ensure that Amelia reaches her own level of achievement based on her individual ability, and that most importantly she is happy. That doesnt stop age 4/5 years when you hand them over to the authorities. In fact, I think it becomes even more important to support them than at any time before, as they come under so many influences and pressures at such a young age.


                        I have experienced education from all vantage points. Ive been educated at an all girls catholic school, a country upper school, a town comprehensive, and Ive been home schooled (between the ages of 14 and 15years), so I do have some insight into the system shall we say. I can honestly say, without a doubt, that I achieved the most when I was home-schooled, and that I was at my happiest at a mixed comprehensive. So, perhaps the best of both worlds can be achieved by enhancing their learning at home, or supplementing school education with a 'home education' of sorts.


                        This is just my view, but its the way we are going to help Amelia through her school life, both emotionally and prcatically.

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                        • More +
                          13.07.2008 11:55
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                          A Salvation Army Farm that has rare breeds and sells fresh farm produce

                          I live in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, and although there are plenty of activities available to do here- being near the seafront, I like to discover new outings for my 4 yearold daughter and I. Especially outings that are reasonably priced, fun, and educational. This is where the Salvation Army Farm, Hadleigh, Essex comes in.


                          ~What is the Salvation Army Farm?~
                          ----------------------------------------------

                          This is a 900 acre organic farm that cares for rare breed animals, aswell as your more 'common' breeds. It is set in the beautiful countryside surrounding Hadleigh Castle (pretty much a ruin now, but nevertheless picturesque as it looks out to the Essex estuary). The land is owned and tended by the Salvation Army, and some adults with learning disabilities are trained and work in the shop on site.

                          The farm houses a 'Rare Breeds Centre', fenced enclosures for farm animals (goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, and even rabbits) so that children can peruse the land and visit the animals. Feed can be bought in paper bags at the entrance, and kiddies are able to feed the animals in their enclosures.

                          There is also a sand pit, and toy tractor (ride-on) area for kids to play in, whilst parents sit on picnic benches and relax.

                          A cafe that overlooks the farm serves fresh, organic cakes and other produces, and a little shop sells small souvenirs. Farm produce is often sold, and Farmers Markets are staged here on occasions (see website www.hadleighfarm.co.uk).


                          ~Where is Hadleigh Salvation Army Farm?~
                          -------------------------------------------------------

                          Travel along the A13 to Southend, and follow the signs for Hadleigh Castle. The farm is just off the A13 down a road called Castle Lane. See website for details.


                          ~Price and Opening Times~
                          -----------------------------------

                          £2.00 per person entrance
                          Kids under 36 months go free.

                          Farm opens at 10.30am and closes at 4pm (weekdays). Closes at 5pm weekends.

                          Closing times vary in the Winter months, so check website for details.

                          Season tickets can be purchased, a very reasonable £12.00 if ordered in advance, or £14.00 at the gates.


                          ~Conclusion~
                          -----------------

                          Overall this is an excellent venue, reasonably priced and great fun for kids and adults alike. The scenery is beautiful and the area peaceful. You could even take a picnic to Hadleigh Castle if the weathers fine.

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                            12.07.2008 20:24
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                            Its always nice to set aside a bit of kiddie/parent time

                            My daughter is 4 years old now, and over the years ive spent quite alot of time doing home made activities with her. Not only are the tasks cheap and enjoyable, they are also full of bonding moments and a great opportunity to get to know your childs creative side. My little girl is now pretty good at artwork, and even her nursery teachers mention her pictures as being full of colour and imagination- Im quite artistic, so genes perhaps play a part, but I do believe that those early years of development were crucial in her acquiring a love of all things creative. You dont need to be a great artist yourself; kids just love the company a parent can give, and the chance to get messy! Heres my list of things you could try:



                            *Toilet Roll Parrots*


                            I actually saw this on the Cbeebies program Doodle Do, and it was an early hit with my little girl. All you need is:

                            -Some toilet rolls (excluding paper)

                            -A packet of colourful feathers (try The Works, ELC, or Wilkinsons for cheapish supplies)

                            -Pritstick or PVA Glue

                            -Circular/Dot shaped stickers (for eyes)

                            -A little triangular bit of paper (for the beak)


                            Just let your kiddie go wild gluing feathers onto an upright toilet roll. Cover the entire length of the roll in glue and feathers, all around the circumference. Let the parrot's body dry. Then stick two dots for eyes at the top of the toilet roll. Cut out a triangular beak from yellow paper or get your child to colour white paper yellow.



                            *Pasta Necklaces*


                            These are pretty funky to do with a preschooler (upwards of 2 years old). I made some necklaces from painted, and glittered pasta shapes that were threaded through with wool/thick string.
                            Heres the necessaries:

                            -Dry Pasta that has a hole through it, ie rigatoni or penne

                            -Poster Paints

                            -Paint Brush/es

                            -Glitter

                            -Wool/String cut to necklace or bracelet length

                            -Newspaper/a tray


                            1) Line a table with newspaper and put aprons on! Firstly take a piece of pasta and hold it end to end with your index finger and thumb. That way, as you paint it you wont get your fingers too mucky.

                            2)Paint the pasta any colour you fancy. I did each pasta shape a different colour so that Amelia's necklace would be really bright.

                            3)If you want to add a bit of sparkle and pizazz, dip your painted wet pasta shape into a dish filled with glitter. Alternatively, let your pasta dry, and dot/line it with stripes of PVA glue- then dip it into the glitter. You will have colourful pasta with glittery patterns over it then!

                            4)Let the shapes dry either on a plate or tray.

                            5)When the shapes are dry, thread them onto a piece of wool and then tie both ends together. There you have it, pretty little necklaces/bracelets for you and your little one to play with.

                            CAUTION: Dont do this activity unless you supervise your child with small pasta shapes. Or unless your child wont put things in their mouth. Little ones could be confused about the dry pasta being edible.



                            *Old Magazine Puzzle*


                            This puzzle I made up on a rainy day. If others have done it too, I apologise for claiming its my idea! This puzzle involves cutting up an old argos catalogue/household magazine and getting your child to do a collage. Its a collage with a difference though- you need to draw on a separate page a house (2D) with all the main rooms of the house, ie: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, shed etc...., and get your child to put each cut-out item in the correct room. They could even arrange a room the way they would want it. this way they learn the rooms, object names, functions and so on....What you will need is:

                            -Old Argos/kays/Additions Catalogue

                            -Scissors

                            -Pritstick

                            -A3 paper

                            -Felt Tips


                            1) Cut out lots of images and items from your catalgoues. For example: baths, irons, cookers, wardrobes, toilets, rugs, kettles, clothes, sinks, lamps etc...

                            2)Draw on a piece of A3 paper a simple outline of a house in 2D. Include the main rooms of a house.

                            3)Write the name of the room at the top of each square drawn for a room. Place one appropriate item in each room so your child can tell which room is which.

                            4)Ask them to name and choose items they fancy. Let them place and glue them into the correct room. Tip: Let them choose from different types of sofas/cookers/beds that exist so that they can imagine a room of their own design too.

                            This activity also gets kids and parents discussing safety in the home. If your child picks up a kettle, you could mention the importance of being careful with boiling water. Or with the iron, you could ask them why an iron can be dangerous.


                            So, I hope this gives you some ideas for the up and coming Summer holidays! Enjoy!

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                            • Nurofen / Other Health Product / 37 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                              12.07.2008 17:32
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                              Effective, but expensive choice. Own brands may be as good and cheaper

                              Nurofen is not a brand that I regularly use, primarilly because its more expensive than its generic, plain ibuprofen alternatives. It is, however, a useful analgesic (painkiller) and reducer of inflammation.


                              ~What is Nurofen?~
                              --------------------------

                              Nurofen is a brand of analgesic medication originally produced by Boots Healthcare- it has now changed hands and is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser.

                              Nurofen can be bought in a number of different forms or preparations. The various formulations are tailored to ease specific pain-related illnesses. Nurofen, as a simple caplet (small sausage shaped coated/uncoated pill), is composed of ibruprofen. Ibruprofen is a useful NSAID (Non-Steroidial Analgesic Drug) which can be used in conjunction with paracetomol, between doses, if the pain is severe enough.

                              Nurofen Plus is another preparation that includes codeine (slightly addictive, so use with caution), and is highly effective in more severe pains such as period pain, migraine, or flu.

                              Nurofen Cold and Flu concentrates on the pain and congestion experienced with head colds and excessive catarrh. The decongestant pseudephedrine is combined with ibruprofen to have a two-fold effect on discomfort.

                              Nurofen Express is a capsule that is said to target pain more speedily, so that sudden onset pain can be quickly attended to. There are also melt in the mouth tablets available for people with problems swallowing pills.

                              Nurofen Gel is a similar to 'Ibuleve' in that it is a topical NSAID for use on muscular tension, aches and pains.

                              Nurofen for Children is also available for kiddies aged 3 months and upwards. Ideal for severe teething pain I would say! See packet for details.


                              ~What is Nurofen Useful in Treating?~
                              ------------------------------------------------

                              NSAID's, like ibruprofen, which Nurofen includes, are effective in alleviating the following conditions:

                              *Fever*

                              *Muscular Pain*- Such as backache, or anything involving inflammation or burning discomfort.

                              *Menstrual Cramps*- Can be effective in easing the pain of period cramping.

                              *Headaches*- Especially tension headaches.

                              *Arthiritis/Rheumatism*

                              *Toothache/Earache/Sore Throat*- Again these involve inflammation, so Nurofen may help.


                              ~Why Buy Nurofen?~
                              ---------------------------

                              Personally I dont have a problem with buying cheaper, generic forms of ibruprofen. Sainsburys own-brand ibruprofen is often adequate for my needs. However, I would buy Nurofen if that was the only NSAID available, as its clearly an effective brand. Some people buy it for the snobbery factor of purchasing a major brand, but I think that most people buy it because the trust the brand. If youve had a raging headache and Nurofen has eased it, you may be inclined to buy it again.

                              Overall I like Nurofen, and I like ibuprofen. It is, however, not advised to be used with some conditions.


                              ~Who Cant Use Nurofen/Ibuprofen Prepartions?~
                              ---------------------------------------------------------------

                              Ibuprofen is actually a fairly safe medicine, as far as studies can confirm. Compared with other NSAID's, such as Aspirin (Anadin etc...), it isnt as problematic for people with gastrointestinal problems, ie. Stomach ulcers, IBS. People with such condtions should, naturally, take care and seek advise from the GP when taking these drugs.

                              Some people experience slight side-effects with ibuprofen. These include nausea, headache, and dizziness. Serious effects are pretty rare; this makes sense else why have ibuprofen as a non-prescription drug?

                              Ibuprofen should be avoided in pregnancy- especially in the third trimester, when its thought that miscarriage can possibly be induced. Seek advice from your GP.


                              ~How Much does Nurofen Cost?~
                              ------------------------------------------

                              Nurofen standard caplets approx £2.50 for 16 tablets
                              (Other Supermarket ibuprofen tablets can cost as little as 99p for 16 tablets)

                              Nurofen Express capsules are around £3.49 for 16 tablets, but the ChemistDirect site are offering them for just £1.99 at the moment.

                              The Nurofen Gel for muscular pain is about £8.99 for 50g.

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                              • Pigeon Street / TV Programme / 27 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                                11.07.2008 20:37
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                                Such a nice little program, and not too dated...unlike Rag Dolly Anna!!!Jeez

                                Pigeon Street, one of the televisual joys of my childhood. I dont think its actually dated too much, especially since it was first shown in 1981! The music was just so funky and jaunty, and the animation was bright and bold- perfect for any generation of toddlers. The characters actually remind me a bit of the late artist, Beryl Cooks, fun and rather rotund ladies...theres just something similar in the colours, the exhuberance and colourful depiction; anyone agree? I was born in 1980, and I clearly recall it being aired during the mid 80's, when I was just a little munchkin.

                                I can really recall the theme tune to this childrens program and some of the lyrics.

                                "If you go to Pigeon Street, here are the people you will meet. Here are the people who will shout hello, goodbye, hell-o, good-bye....".

                                As you can see, it had a profound effect on me during my formative years (as did 'Henry's Cat', which again, I could bore you with the lyrics with!).


                                The basic premise of this program was that a group of pigeons (whats the collective noun for pigeons, flock maybe?) would visit and roost in Pigeon Street. The stories, which featured in two series, would centre around the lives of the residents of this terraced, city street, and the visiting pigeons. The characters included:

                                Long distance Clara~ The female trucker. You can tell its the 80's and female emancipation is in full flow!

                                Hugo the Chef~ Clara's love interest.

                                Mr Baskerville~ The Sherlock Holmes lookie-likie detective.

                                Mr Jupiter~ An astronomer/neighbouhood voyeur/peeping tom/pervert? Just my interpretation; he seemed too preoccupied with his telescope for my liking.

                                Mr Macadoo~ Petshop owner.

                                Polly and Molly~ The twins

                                There were others, quite a few actually. I dont remember all of them, but I do recall Daisy and Rose, the two grey haired old ladies who lived next door to each other; Bob of 'Bobs Bikes', the guy with the nice green duffel coat- the envy of the street no doubt.


                                I loved this program, oh happy days.

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                                • Bed Sharing / Parenting Issue / 36 Readings / 35 Ratings
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                                  11.07.2008 17:26
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                                  Cant say its my cup of tea really

                                  I have never understood the purported virtues of bedsharing. Although Id never tell anyone how to bring up their baby, or indeed how to organise sleeping arrangements, I cannot understand what longterm benefits can be gained from sharing your bed with a baby or toddler. I know that in the short-term we all take drastic measures to save our sanity; if my baby had been having a nightmare bedtime or was ill, i could just about imagine taking them to bed with me- just for the sake of a bit of sleep. In reality, I have never had Amelia share a bed with my husband and I, as we need that space, as adults, to have a 'grown-up' relationships and even try to preserve some adult only space. Amelia is free to visit us and cuddle in our bed in the mornings, but we need our bed for sleep and other activities shall we say!


                                  I found it hard, like most parents, to transfer my baby from the comfort and security of a moses basket to a cot. Obviously she would sleep in the moses basket, in our room, in the early days (first 12 weeks). I couldnt bear for her to be away from my side, plus it made night feeds a lot less arduous. When she was 12 weeks, we let her sleep in her moses basket, positioned in the cot, so that the transition from our room to her nursery would not be too daunting. Then gradually we introduced her to her cot. We installed a baby monitor in her room, so that we could hear her little murmurs (or big screams!).


                                  Over the years (Amelia is 4 and 1/4 now), we have managed to keep Amelia in her bedroom. Through illness, darkness anxiety, and nightmares we have spent time consolling her in her own little bedroom. The thing is, Amelia was quite a smart little minxter at a young age- if you gave her an inch, she'd take a yard. If we showed that our bed was available whenever she fancied, that would have been IT for the forseable future, and we would have had no private time. My husband and I knew that it was better, in our case, to deal with her anxieties as they occured, rather than 'shelve' them and allow her to come into bed with us. Ultimately, the issue that had initially bothered her would not be resolved, and we would have been doing her a diservice by not helping her to become independent.


                                  When Amelia hit 3 years old, after 3 years of almost faultless sleep, she suddenly went beserk and fearful of the dark. She literally would shake with fear, and lost the ability to get herself to sleep. One option would have been to let her sleep with us, but what message would that have sent? That yes Amelia, there is something to be scared of, come and sleep with us every night. None of us will get sleep, and we'll all be hell to live with. We knew that Amelia could, and had, cracked independent sleeping from a young age, and that what we needed to do is restore her faith in the safety of her own room. We did that by reassuring her at bedtime, saying we would check on her a few times to see she was ok (we still do this twice at bedtime, and she is almost always asleep the second time we go in, after 10 minutes), and installing a low illumination night light. This light always goes on at bedtime, and is a ritual thing now. Ill admit that in the early stages of her fear the process of re-checking and reassuring her was draining, but we are pleased we dealt with the problem rather taking a short-term, initially 'easier' option, of bedsharing. I just dont know what that would have achieved really.


                                  I believe that confident children need to know that they are safe, and that their parents are always on hand to help and reassure them when they need comfort. That doesnt necessarily mean cradling them through the night. Surely that sends a message that being alone is something to be feared? If we hear Amelia in distress, in the night, we respond immediately.....we comfort her, settle her down, and deal with whats bothering her. Having a sleeping companion wouldnt work with my girl as shes too much of a chatterbox. She wouldnt sleep quite frankly, and neither would we. Her own room allows her to be alone with her thoughts at the end of the day, to wind down and be peaceful. Before bed she has a bath, a video, a story with me, and a cuddle with her Dad...she knows she's loved and trundles off to bed quite happily.


                                  So, as you can tell, Ive not much time for bedsharing. Each to their own, but I know we would create a rod for our own back in this household!

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