Monday, 21 May 2018

When You Become a Parent to Your Parent

"The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son."

How apt that was whilst thinking about this particular blog, I should hear this saying whilst watching a popular television show. No truer words spoken.

As I have got older, I have found myself in the hard situation of becoming essentially the protector of of both my parents. My dearest late mother succumbed to vascular dementia and lost her battle with it after five and half years last year. As her mind slowly shut down, she became childlike and vulnerable. I found that instead of her holding my hand, I was holding hers.

My father, always strong and there for his family, had a severe stroke in 2015 at only 67 years old. Once very mentally and physically active, he is now bedbound and has lost all independence, as well as minimal speech which makes communication difficult for him. Whilst he was worried I'd trip whilst I learned to walk as a toddler, now I'm worried he'll fall. I'm the one anxious about literal and metophorical obstacles for him - not the other way around like it used to be.

So now I find myself the parent to my parent... a role that neither of us wanted or had foreseen. I worry continuously about his health and happiness whilst at the same time trying to protect him.

I am lucky and blessed that my parents provided a secure and happy childhood. But as we are now all living longer, this reversed role play will probably become more common.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week - 14th to 20th May 2018

As I write this there is a local council meeting where they are discussing yet again, the shortfalls of the mental health services in this area. I read in the local press a few months ago, that the Isle of Wight is one of four counties whose mental health services drastically need improvement. I remain slightly cynical about this, as that's all there seems to be, lots of talk, but no action. 
Crying Girl
Stock Image
It's Mental Health Awareness Week and earlier on this month, I organized a Mental Health Mates Walk. This, as far as I know, was the first to be held on the Island and I am hoping one of many. I am one singular person, but I am calling for drastic improvements in this area and it's time that the Government realises that this can be a life-threatening condition.

I have also signed up to be a Time To Change Champion, speaking out about the stigma of depression and campaigning for more support for others in need.

From a personal experience when I was a new and very lonely mother, with no parental support, I struggled with PND. The doctor even said I was at risk from it, but, I did not get the support I really needed. In that very desperate time, you just want to reach out to someone, someone who understands, even a little bit. It was hard then and it is now, and I refuse to sit quietly and feel ashamed about having PND.

Having a mental health issue or issues, is not limited to just a week sadly, so let's keep talking and supporting each other. If you know someone who is going through it, speak to them, support them, be there for them, as there is nothing more isolating sometimes then having a mental health disability. 

The more voices that there are, the louder we can be heard...

To find out about more Time to Change, please visit www.time-to-change.org.uk

Mental Health Mates www.mentalhealthmates.co.uk

PANDAS Pre and PostNatal Depression Support http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/



Monday, 14 May 2018

Create a Magical Nursery with Hurn & Hurn

I first heard about Hurn & Hurn when I spotted one of their products in Mother & Baby magazine, upon visiting the site, I fell in love with what they had on offer. Products are stylish, of high quality, appeal to the designer side of me and are reasonably priced. There are many online stores offering homeware and accessories for the Nursery, but Hurn & Hurn in particular stands out.

To start with, I loved the Fiona Walker England Mini Bear With Crown Felt Animal Head, which would look beautiful in my daughter's nursery, let's hope its cute appeal doesn't appear too scary for her! Grrr!
Fiona Walker Felt Bear Head
The 3 Sprouts Mouse Storage Caddy (and I am a huge fan of all storage solutions in this chaotic house!) is perfect for putting away toys to avoid the inevitable and painful experience of accidentally stepping on them. Talking of tidying, I will also be hanging her little clothes on the colourful Felt Flamingo Coat Hook also by Fiona Walker England.


3 Sprouts Mouse Storage Caddy

Fiona Walker Felt Flamingo Hook

No nursery is complete without soft lighting of course, to lull her gently to sleep, so I will festoon the room with this cute string of LED Star Fairy String Lights by A Little Lovely Company. The Ferm Living Cloud Rose, dusky pink duvet set with a dreamy cloud print will hopefully help her settle into the land of nod, nope, no nightmares here!

A Little Lovely Company LED Star Lights
Ferm Living Cloud Rose Duvet Set

Liked what you've seen so far? Please visit https://www.hurnandhurn.com/ to see what other beautiful goodies they offer!

Please note: This blog post is not a paid promotion or features an affiliate link, all views are my own. Images very kindly supplied by Hurn & Hurn. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Cath Kidston meets Alice - A Match Made in Wonderland

I have been a huge fan of Cath Kidston and Disney for a long time!

When I first heard that the first collection was going to be Mickey Mouse, I was beyond excited and grinning like the Cheshire Cat. These sell-out designs were promptly followed by Winnie The Pooh (a perfect babygro for my newborn daughter at the time, she's grown out of it now though! Boo!), 101 Dalmations, Peter Pan, more Mickey and Minnie Mouse (yes, really!) and the latest collection to be launched this month, Alice in Wonderland!

From the preview images, you can buy homeware such as a really cute duvet cover set (wonder if the partner would notice a new one!) and a beautiful embroidered jacket featuring a large red heart with Alice perched on top.

The range covers everything, apart from a hat, but I won't be disappointed about that, although the Mad Hatter might!

More details can be found by clicking on the link here

The collection will be available from the 24th/25th May this year.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Sandailo Psychic App Review

I am always interested in all things spiritual (with some scepticism) so jumped at the chance to review the Sandailo Pyschics app.

I was credited for five questions that I could ask from a group of various mediums and tarot readers, two that could be private and three public.

The interface was simple to navigate, but it took some time to familiarise myself with the app features. It was fairly easy to set up an account, just requiring a name, date of birth and gender.

Sandailo Psychic App

I decided to choose online medium Stargazer, whom responded to my private question promptly.

He offered to do a reading for me, unfortunately what I didn't realize is that when I said a simple thanks, that used up my second question credit!

I knew I had lots of questions for the public options, but found it hard to be more specific and narrow it down to three. 

The first public question was answered sufficiently within ten minutes which was impressive. The second question I had asked whether they could sense any of my late friends and family around and was a bit surprised when angellove11 described a stubborn and stern elderly lady with clear thoughts, this could have been my paternal grandmother or mother, my family is known for their stubbornness!

What I particularly liked about this app was that it was fairly transparent, there were no hidden costs and an easy refund option if you are unhappy with the responses you received. The graphics and layout were clean and easy to navigate. My only quibble was that one answer was difficult to decipher as it had not been clearly written by the person who kindly responded to a public question.

Would I use this app again? Possibly, if I had a burning question. Do I remain slightly cynical? Unfortunately, yes, but I did have some fun reading the responses and learning about how the app works.

To find out more about the app, please click on the following link

Please note: Sandailo Psychic Ltd kindly credited the app account in return for a review. All opinions and photos are my own. There are no affiliate links here.

The app is available for both Android and iOS.

Beautiful Flowers with 25% donated to Cancer Research UK

Having sadly lost over half my maternal family to cancer, including my grandmother, I have previously taken part in the Race for Life and organised a Crocus Walk for Cancer a few years back. I am a keen charity fundraiser and Cancer Research UK is one of those charities that is close to my heart. Therefore, I was really pleased to see that if you purchase a bouquet of flowers from Prestige Flowers, Cancer Research UK will receive a donation of 25%.
I am really impressed with the quality of the flowers, excellent customer service and fast delivery. The bouquet came well packaged, complete with a vase (saves time and fuss trying to find a suitable one!) and consisted of lilies and roses. This is the second bouquet that I have received and I am and remain impressed, my sitting room is currently delicately scented by the budding lilies! They are certainly giving the main competitor a run for their money!
Prestige Flowers Lily

You can find out more by clicking on the link, here: cruk.org/flowers

Please note: Prestige Flowers kindly sent me these flowers in return for a review. I must add that all opinions and photos are my own. There are no affiliate links here.


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Most mums struggle with mental health issues


CONTRIBUTED
Maternal Mental Health Week 2018:
Most mums struggle with mental health issues

A recent report by Dr Louise Howard of King’s College London stated that 1 in 4 mums struggle with their mental health during pregnancy. Another found that more than 1 in 3 mums struggle post-natally. This might seem high, but in a recent MummyLinks survey 70% said they were currently, or had suffered with a mental health issue. Almost 30% struggled with depression, 30% with anxiety, and 15% with other issues such as OCD and PTSD.
So why are these figures so high? And seem to be rising?
One reason is that we are talking about it more. We’ve seen leaps and bounds in progress regarding talking about mental health recently – and the celebrities and key figures have been great at helping this cause from Gwyneth Paltrow, to Stacey Solomon, to Andrea Leadsom.  This does make it seem that the instances are rising. But is it just that people are more open about it? People didn’t used to talk about cancer after all, and now we wouldn’t dream of hiding that away.
But is there a bigger issue? Founder of MummyLinks, Emily Tredget believes so. She says:
“Depite feeling more connected through social media, mums are more lonely than ever.”
Her MummyLinks survey also asked mums how lonely they felt and a staggering. Almost half of the mums surveyed had high levels of loneliness (66 or more out of 100), and all mums said they were lonely some of the time. Interestingly she found that being part of a service such as NCT reduced loneliness by 22% - coincidentally, the same percentage that being part of NCT reduced mental health issues by. Of those not part of NCT 2 in 3 mums struggled. But for those part of NCT it was just 1 in 2.
“This doesn’t surprise me at all”, says Emily. “I found NCT invaluable – not only for teaching me about the birth itself, but more importantly for connecting with mums local to me who were going through the same experience, all within a month of each other.”
But, Emily believes that 1 in 2 struggling is still too high, and something needs to be done.
“Yes NCT is invaluable, but for some it’s too expensive, and even with this the rates of maternal mental health issues is just too high. Four mums close by is great, but this isn’t enough of a community to help you through when things get tough, or you just want to get out of the house and they’re not free.”
Maternal Mental Health week is 30th April – 6th May and Emily is arranging a campaign called #ShoutieSelfie. It aims to raise awareness of maternal mental health and fight the stigma. She ran it first in 2017 having just 2 months of social media experience, and 10 days to plan it. Despite this is got maternal mental health trending in its first half an hour and 1 million impressions. This year she is arranging an even bigger campaign with thousands of supporters – from NCT, to PANDAS, to ready to hit social media with their “shoutie selfie” to get people talking. Watch closely and you might even see a celebrity face or two shouting that week!
“#ShoutieSelfie is so important to me. I struggled with PND, PNA and PTSD after the birth of my son in 2015. Instead of being the best time of my life it was the worst. I went from being a confident and successful woman, to being scared to have coffee with a close friend. I was anxious whenever I was left alone with my son because I didn’t believe I knew how to look after him. It wasn’t until I started hearing that it wasn’t just me that was struggling. That others did too, that I realised it wasn’t that I was an awful person and mother. I was ill, and I could get help. And that’s why I’m now on a mission to ensure all mums – and dads – currently struggling know they are not alone and that they can get better.”
The campaign helps to reduce the stigma, but doesn’t do anything to reduce the loneliness felt on a day to day basis my millions of mums UK (and world!) wide. So Emily isn’t stopping there. She has been working tirelessly to create a new app to help mums beat loneliness through safe and local playdates. MummyLinks is currently a facebook group, but by summer the app will be out for mums to test.
“When I was struggling with loneliness – which for me lead to post natal depression – I set up a local whatsapp group of mums I knew, and they added mums they knew locally. It was great as if somebody cancelled last minute, or you haven’t arranged a playdate, you could ping a message out to a large number of local mums at once and usual find someone also keen to meet –whether you knew them directly, or not. But I realised I was lucky to be in this situation, and even with 15 or so mums in the group, sometimes nobody was free. I often wanted an app to do this – I didn’t mind meeting a new mum, I just wanted a reason to get out of the house and a chat!”
It’s invite only, which for Emily is key.
“Being invite only makes it a bit harder to join, but it’s key that mums using the service feel safe. It’s something I always felt, and in chatting to many mums around the UK I’ve found that it’s really important to most of them too.”
Similar services have been popping up over the last year or two – most notably Mush and Peanut which both have millions of pounds backing and are headed up by marketing and tech gurus (Peanut is a collaboration between Deliveroo and Badoo founders) – but this isn’t deterring Emily.
“I may not have tons of investment, but I truly believe that the community we are creating is going to be highly beneficial. Not just to mums struggling with mental health issues – to all mums. And if we can reduce loneliness, and therefore some cases of mental health issues, then I have achieved what I set out to do.”
To get involved with the campaign on 30th April search for #ShoutieSelfie or @MummyLinksApp on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and follow her lead!
To ask to join MummyLinks head to: www.facebook.com/groups/MummyLinks




When You Become a Parent to Your Parent

"The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son." How apt that was whilst thinking about this particular blog, I shou...