The last year has been one of the best but hardest years of my life and brought with it a rollercoaster of emotions. Riley's birth at 30 weeks gestation came suddenly and unexpectedly and through my world into turmoil, everything i knew changed in an instant. Having a premature baby is NOT easy and being apart from Riley in the early days was complete torture, but it teaches you courage, hope, patience and above all LOVE.
It's been a battle at times, but we've come through the other side of it stronger and been on an incredible journey in the process.
Here's a little video montage of Riley's first year. If you can't view the clip, use the following link to access it here http://youtu.be/ZaJS8tH10F4
Whether it’s joining a gym, giving to charity, quitting smoking or just taking up a new hobby, most of us pledge to make at least one New Year’s resolution – but how many of these do we actually stick to? According to research, most people give up their resolutions as early as the 10th January. Clearly some sound advice is needed for 2013 to help those resolutions stick!
One of the main reasons for giving up on our resolutions is that we set ourselves unrealistic goals. For example, you might want to lose weight, but unless you know how you’re going to change your eating habits or the results you want to achieve, the odds of success are strongly stacked against you.
Making a New Year’s resolution ‘for the sake of it’ will also put you at a disadvantage, as you won’t be truly committed. Having strong personal reasons for wanting to make a New Year’s resolution can make all the difference as getting results will be meaningful to you – and you won’t just be doing it because you feel you have to.
Support Means Success
The support received from friends and family is crucial to achieving your goals, helping you avoid situations in which you might be tempted to stray from the path of success. This will be particularly important if you’re making a drastic change to your lifestyle such as attempting to stop smoking or going on a diet. With your nearest and dearest there to cheer you on, even the toughest of challenges will feel easier to conquer.
You should also offer your encouragement to friends and family who are embarking on their own New Year’s resolutions. If you know of someone attempting something exceptional, why not send them a 'Good Luck' personalised cards from a company such as Hallmark to show that you’re rooting for them and congratulate them on their achievements so they’re motivated to make many more.
All my readers will know by now that Riley was born 10 weeks prematurely and if like me you are the parent of a premature baby, you will know exactly what i mean when i say that 'health, hygiene and infection control' are words that are drummed into your head from the outset and are things of paramount importance at ALL times. Every unit works differently but there are standard policies that apply in most hospitals.
For instance, everyone entering neonatal units MUST wash their arms and forearms with a special disinfectant and after drying, apply the hand gel provided. Visitors are restricted to parents and grandparents only. Gloves must be worn when carrying out your baby's cares. Hands must be re-washed and disinfected after handling your baby. There were even times when i was (politely) asked to refrain from visiting the unit as i was suffering from a cold or a sickness bug. The list goes on and at the time it can all seem a little overwhelming and frustrating, but these steps are put in place to reduce the risk of babies catching infections that could be brought in from outside the unit. When their tiny body's are fighting so hard to grow and live, the slightest virus or infection can be detrimental to their health.
The whole experience has definitely left me more cautious when it comes to Riley's health, so when i was contacted by a journalist writing a post on childhood health issues, and in particular meningitis, i thought it was the kind of useful information i'd be happy to post.
Now, as a parent it is impossible to know everything there is to
know about childhood illnesses and diseases; you wouldn’t sleep at night if you
knew the symptoms and side effects of every illness your child could possibly
But meningitis is one of the illnesses that it is essential
to be informed about.
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection that causes an inflammation of
the spinal cord and the lining around the brain and is usually caused by a bacteria
or viral infection and occasionally by a fungal infection.
types of meningitis
Viral meningitis is the most common variety and while still
very serious, it is usually not life threatening and people typically recover without
intensive medical treatments or hospitalisation.
Bacterial meningitis is life threatening. There are at least
50 different bacteria that can cause meningitis, some of which can be vaccined
against, but not all, which is why it is important for parents to be aware of
the symptoms and know how to react if they spot them.
Fungal meningitis is a less common form of meningitis and is
cause by a fungal infection, usually when the person is taking medication that
reduces the effectiveness of their immune system. Premature babies are born
with a very weak immune system which makes them more susceptible to fungal
Who does meningitis
Age plays a big part in meningitis, with babies and young
people being more susceptible to the condition.
Babies and toddlers are at higher risk to the bacterial form
of meningitis than other age groups, which is why it is important for parents
to be aware of the symptoms.
Due to the introduction of vaccines, young adults are less
susceptible to the disease but again, due to the numerous forms of the infection,
it is still important to know what to look out for, even in adults.
Babies and toddlers get sick very fast and it is important
to know what you are looking for:
·Tense or bulging soft spot on the top of the
·Blotchy/pale skin or blue colouring
·Very sleepy or a glazed stare
·High temperature and irritated when picked up
·Stiff and jerky movements or floppy and lifeless
·Cold hands and feet, shivery body
·Pin prick rash
·Higher pitched than normal or moaning cry
·Stiff or painful neck – ask your child to touch
their chin to their chest to test for this
·Headache and sensitivity to light
·A rash that doesn’t fade under pressure
It is important to note the not all symptoms present in all children
and the order of the symptoms varies from person to person.
After effects of meningitis
Most children who contract meningitis will survive the
illness without any lasting effects.
But each person’s illness is different and there are some
lasting effects of meningitis which can include:
or spasms of part of body
What to do if you
suspect your infant has meningitis?
As a parent you know your child better than anyone else, if
you suspect there is cause for concern and your baby is showing any of the
symptoms listed above, do not hesitate to seek medical help.
Many of the symptoms that are present in meningitis are
present with other illnesses, but it is better to seek professional advice
sooner rather than later as a child with meningitis will show symptoms quickly
and get worse very fast.
Author Bio: This
article was written by Vicki Power writing about childhood health for Dr Thom the online doctor service.
Whilst i aspire to be a domestic goddess and would love to profess my superior skills in homemaking and producing all my own home cooked food, the reality is that more often than not i have little or no time to produce a meal from scratch and i often use Aunt Bessies products to help me in my quest to becoming the next Delia Smith. What? It's still homemade-ish!
Now, with Christmas just around the corner, i'm sure everybody is excited about celebrating the day with their loved ones and cooking up that traditional roast turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings?
I know i am, but if like me you're a busy mum with many hungry mouths to feed this year and the thought of spending hours slaving away in the kitchen just doesn't appeal to you, why not let Aunt Bessies help take the stress out of cooking and you can enjoy some more quality time with your friends and family?
They have a huge range of items for you to choose from including the most delicious Honey Glazed Roast Parsnips, Carrot & Swede Mash, irresistible Yorkshire Puddings, Homestyle Roast Potatoes, Stuffing Balls and more. They even have NEW Special Roast Potatoes basted in duck fat, which take literally 30 minutes in the oven and come out deliciously crisp, golden and full of flavour. Your whole family will love the 'added roastiness' within their roast potatoes. Quick, easy and tasty too.
You can't hear of Aunt Bessies without thinking of the hilarious ladies, Margaret and Mabel from the TV adverts who make it their mission to snoop on a neighbouring family at dinner time in a quest to discover the secret of how they manage the perfect roast dinner not just at the weekend, but midweek too, on a school night no less. Their latest mission is definitely worth a watch so take a look below.
As winter arrives some may long for the colours of summer
that are lingering just around the corner. However, with an injection of
creativity and colour you can make winter the most magical season of all.
As the cold winter snow begins to cover your garden, instead
of seeing it as a burden see it as a blank canvas in which you can create your
own work of art and really let your creativity run wild.
There are a variety of winter flowers which open in frost and snow whilst the
rest of the garden is fast asleep.
The most elegant and vibrant of these flowers are:
·Algerian iris (Iris unguicularis)
·Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
niger and Helleborus x hybridus)
A Christmas isn’t complete without the addition of red from
a Christmas reef or holly berries. Unfortunately not many people have the
patients or the space to grow a holly tree in their garden as they can reach
almost 20 meters high so usually artificial holly is used. An alternative could
be to grow Cotoneaster horizontalis or
Pyracantha against a wall or fence
whilst pruning them to create the desired festive shape. One example could be
to buy some trellis panels from a garden centre and attach them around your
door in an arch way, then grow the berries either side of the door until you
are left with an arch of red berries.
you already have:
Instead of going and buying ornaments which cost hundreds of
pounds, it is important to use what you already have in your garden and draw
attention to it. A large tree can easily be turned into the main attraction of
your garden with a little effort and a bunch of Christmas lights. You could
also decorate bushes, shrubs and benches if you already have them. One
interesting idea could be to turn your shed into a nativity scene.
Step 1: The Fencing
By using your shed as the Inn, create a stable like structure using typical
border fencing that you can find at any garden centre or DIY store.
Step 2: The Roof
Use an old table to act as the roof and place it over the fencing as shown
in the diagram.
Step 3: Lighting
By using outdoor Christmas lights as lighting, wrap them around the legs of
Step 4: The Nativity
Now the Inn and Stable have been created, add the finished touches by
adding your Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. But don’t forget about the animals, 3
wise men and Sheppard’s!
With a Christmas tree, nativity scene, some colourful winter
flowers and vibrant red berries in your garden you will be well on your way to
creating your winter wonderland. However you must remember that spring is only
just around the corner and by following a few simple tips you can make sure
your garden ready for the summer.
The first thing you should do is ensure that your lawn stays
healthy. This can be done by simply applying your lawn with a good winter care
product which is high in iron. This will help to keep your lawn strong and
survive through the winter.
It was a typical week day morning; my husband and I woke up at 5am, went over the tasks that needed to be accomplished that day, I got dressed and tried to get the kids up and ready for school. After dropping the kids off at school, I made my way into work.
I felt good; I was healthy and not overly stressed from work, and in fact, I was excited about attending my 7-year-old’s school concert later that night. But, just after 10 am, everything changed.
I am a registered nurse at a hospital. I had gone into a room to check on a patient, and as I entered, I slipped and fell. I was knocked unconscious and sustained severe injuries to my head, back and knee. At least I received great care – I could think of much worse places to have an accident.
Long story short, I suffered a concussion and needed surgery to repair my back and knee. At first, I was restrained to a wheelchair and then after weeks of physiotherapy and healing, I graduated to hobbling around on crutches. I never realized how hard it could be to lose your independence. It’s been a year, and I am still going to physical therapy.
During the recovery stage, my emotional stability, physical strength and ego were put to the test! Money was a bit of an issue - my husband was in transition between jobs, so finances were already tight. I was unable to work for several months, and not getting paid, we definitely suffered financially. We tried almost everything to bring some extra money in just so we could get by each month and even resorted to asking our parents for financial assistance.
Our spirit and family dynamics changed. Although I tried to be strong for my kids, it killed me that they had to see their mum in such bad condition. They had trouble adjusting to the change in routine – I couldn’t do simple tasks like give my 5-year-old a bath, drive them to school and play with them. I had to reiterate that “mummy is hurt” and “I can’t play right now, but we will soon.” It was also difficult not being able to splurge on them like buy a little toy or go out dinner and the movies on the weekends.
Since the accident was not my fault – there was a leak in the building that made the floor slippery – I knew I was eligible to file for work accident compensation. I am so grateful for our attorney. He was very knowledgeable and well practiced and worked diligently on my case to make sure I got the money I deserved.
Thankfully, our family dynamics have since been restored, our finances in order, and I am almost completely recovered. It has been such a humbling experience, because I know that work-related accidents happen every day, but some people aren’t as fortunate. I remind myself everyday how lucky I am for my health and family and that nothing in life should ever be taken for granted.
Sony has brought the Xperia™ name to the tablet brand for the very first time with the new and innovative Xperia™ Tablet S. Featuring a slim new aluminium body and splash-proof design, it's the sleek, stylish and state of the art tablet that every home needs.
One of the features that appeals to me the most is the built-in universal remote control, yes you heard me correct, the Xperia™ Tablet can not only control your home entertainment system but it also allows you to switch on your TV or cable box, select inputs, adjust volume and more. As a self confessed gadget girl myself, all I can say is 'Genius'! Goodbye TV, Sky and DVD remote........Hello Xperia™ Tablet. Whilst it might be easy for your remote control to do a disappearing act on you and the kids right when Peppa Pig is meant to be starting, it's a darn sight harder to a lose a 10 inch tablet in the same way.
It's also preloaded with Sony's latest technologies and a host of applications to enhance your world of entertainment, such as ClearAudio+, which provides you with great audio quality that's distinctively Sony. Video content can be enjoyed with high picture and sound quality in the 'Movies' application and the new 'Album' application lets you view, sort and share pictures more intelligently. Of course there are various other features that this tablet boasts and you can discover more about them by heading over to the Xperia™ Tablet website.
Want to easily share your Xperia™ Tablet with family and friends but don't want them to have access to all of your personal data? 'Guest Mode' lets you create individual profiles for friends, family and visitors with complete control over wallpaper, icons and apps access to make the experience truly personal and enjoyable for everyone. This fabulous feature appeals to me greatly, as I’m sure it will with other parents who can rest assured that their children won't be accessing or deleting any important work/blogging related documents.
Plus, if you're a social media maven like me then the tablet's 'Socialife' application is for you. It's a unique downloadable application from Sony that organises your social networks and allows you to view, sort and manage all social media accounts and news feeds through one interface, alongside you friends' feeds and posts. You can find out more about Socialifehere.
All in all, the tablet's effortless good looks and comfortable handling make it perfect for around the home or on the move. It has all the power you need to enjoy your favourite media, apps and games without compromising performance and will fit in to any lifestyle.
What features do you think would be most important in your house? Could the Xperia™ Tablet solve any of your family's issues?
On Tuesday afternoon, Riley and i ventured up to the William Harvey Hospital for his 12 month review with the Neonatal Consultant, Dr Long. We had been there previously so knew the drill and upon arrival at the Padua Outpatients Ward, we were sat in the waiting room before being called through to the medical reception area for Riley to be weighed, measured and have his head circumference taken.
The consultant then came out and took us through to the consultation room. He had a look through Riley's notes, examined his chest and back, checked his hip and arm movements, asked about bowel movements, speech, mobilty etc and we discussed any concerns i had over Riley's health or development.
He then took a peek inside Riley's nappy (brave man) to examine his 'dinkie'. Riley was born with Hypospadias which is a male birth defect in which the opening of the tube that carries urine from the body develops abnormally, usually on the underside of the 'dinkie'.Riley's has always been considered minor but it was hoped that it would correct itself as he grew but this doesn't appear to be the case so much to mummy's dismay, surgery may be the only option.
So, what were the outcomes of our appointment:
*Riley's above average in length for his adjusted age (10 months) and is predicted to be a tall, lean man some day.
*Riley was born with a hole in the heart and an irregular heartbeat, this has now corrected itself and no problems were detected at this appointment.
*Riley's a happy, content and laidback boy who despite being underweight is growing normally and healthily.
*Mummy was told she's doing an amazing job (which is ALWAYS nice to hear).
The Not So Good
* Riley is underweight for his adjusted age (10 months) and this will need to be closely monitored for the next 3 months. If no improvement, a referall will be made to a dietitian/nutritionist.
*Riley is behind developmentally with his mobility and at 12 months (10 months adjusted) is still unable to sit unaided or crawl so a referall has now been made for physiotherapy. I'm told this is not uncommon with babies born before 32 weeks gestation and the physio sessions and exercises are thought to help considerably with mobility issues so i'm hoping they'll make all the difference.
* Riley's hypospadias has not improved so a referall has now been made for surgery. If needed, the operation will be carried out before he is two.
If i'm honest, i left the appointment feeling a little deflated like somehow i wasn't doing enough for him, but in hindsight i know this obviously isn't the case.
He's come a remarkable way in the last 12 months and beat the odds to still be here so i'm incredibly proud and thankful for that but this appointment was a friendly reminder of the journey and obstacles we still have to overcome. We WILL get there though.
The coming winter can bring all sorts of anxiety for those of us who have to drive through snow and ice. Winter conditions can make even the most skilled and confident driver shiver in fear at the thought of skidding on ice and losing control. This fear is completely justified, as winter conditions are known to cause accidents.
Nevertheless, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your safety on snowy winter roads. Read on to learn more about them.
Prepare Your Car
Each winter, you should inspect your car and make sure everything is in perfect working order, particularly the brakes, transmission and steering. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, you should look into getting fitted with special snow tires with a deeper tread to keep the car from slipping. For adequate traction, you’ll need tires with 6/32-inch deep tread. You can identify snow tires in the store by the snowflake or mountain symbol on them.
Prepare Your Passengers
When you have to make a journey through the snow, inform your passengers that you will need to concentrate on driving and that they need to remain calm. This is particularly true if you are going to have your kids in the car. You can tell them that they need to be quiet so you can concentrate on the road. It might also help to have some activities ready to distract them in the car, such as a portable television or some picture books.
The key to winter driving is to always go slow. This will keep you from skidding and also allow you more time to react if you start to lose control.
If you need to slow down, make sure to brake slowly. Aggressively jamming the brakes will create momentum and can cause you to lose control. Instead, decelerate gradually while maintaining a firm hold on the wheel. If you feel the car skidding, just steer your way back onto the road. Resist the urge to slam on the brakes.
Assess the Risks
If the weather looks bad and you know the roads are slippery, consider whether you should make the trip at all. Of course, some car journeys are unavoidable, but if you do not feel confident driving in these conditions, then it may be best to cancel the trip all together or find someone with more experience with winter driving.
If an Accident Occurs
Even with the greatest precaution, an accident may occur. If you are involved in a traffic accident due to winter conditions, the first step is to remain calm. Assess the situation, make emergency medical arrangements if necessary, notify the police, and exchange information with the other driver if another individual was involved. If necessary, seek legal aid. Road accident lawyers can help you reach a fair settlement if you feel you deserve compensation. Nevertheless, there is little we can do if snowy weather caused your accident, and that’s why it always pays to be safe.
Ok, so with Winter officially upon us, we took a trip into town on Sunday to stock up on some much needed Winter essentials and finish off our Christmas shopping. NEXT have some fab items in at the moment and i couldn't resist treating Riley and i to some new bits.
We all know what a computer is and using the internet has
become part of our everyday lives. But with so much of our data and information
stored online it can cause major problems. We hear a lot about cyber security and think it only refers
to home computers, so the blogging community should be aware. But it can have a
serious impact when it affects people at all levels. Cyber warfare refers to
politically motivated hacking to sabotage and to spy.
2003- Viruses called “Botnet” were spread and infected computers
to take command and control structure. This then lead to the company Microsoft
being attacked early in 2006.
2005 – US
computers continuously had cyber-attacks on their computers which affected
government resources including UK national interests.
Hackers intruded in to an American system called the NIPRNet, although it did
not contain classified information it had sensitive material about where troops
from the US would be placed if China was to attack Taiwan. This indicates the increasingly
political motives behind such cyber-attacks in the last decade.
was also another victim of “worm” attacks when they announced that the worms
had been found on laptops at the International Space Station.
December President Barack Obama suggested that there could be potential severe
consequences for nations if cyber-attacks were to continue. This was due to one
of the most severe and widespread cyber warfare attacks. 34 companies were compromised
during these attacks where intellectual property was also stolen.
Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have
been affected by botnets. One scam involved Facebook to send out messages to
users by pretending to be messages from friends which were actual viruses. The risk does not only affect social media,
there has been an increase of botnets attacking mobile phones.
So whether you blog, tweet or share a lot of personal
information on social networking websites be careful and follow the following
How to avoid cybercrime:
If you shop online make
sure it is on a secure website, especially during Christmas shopping you
may feel rushed and less likely to concentrate on the websites you’re
Received lots of e-mails
claiming you have won the lottery in a foreign country? Avoid them at all
Monitor your children’s
activities online by using the parental control software.
Try to avoid talking to
people who you do not know online as they may not be who they claim to be.
If you do become a victim of
cybercrime then the best thing to do would be contact a law firm and ask to speak to
a cybercrime lawyer.
The family are coming round and so are the friends so the
pressure is on to make the most of being a host. The first thing is appearance,
yes it sounds vain but you want to make your home seasonal not senseless.
Instead of buying new decorations why not find your old ones
and decorate different areas of the house. It’s a hassle making space for them so
use the one you have so far, interior
curtain poles and light fixtures are great to decorate. You can just hang your Christmas
baubles on as well as other decorations pieces. With a piece of string hang your Christmas
cards up on a wall to make your room more presentable.
They are not the cheapest thing to buy as you feel the need
to tailor to everyone’s needs. Are you friends with everyone in the office? Then
get involved in the company’s secret Santa and if they do not have one set one
up. The reason it is convenient is that it everyone has a budget of £5-£10 so you
do not need to max out on your credit card. If you really are
clueless about what to buy people then buy presents in bulks, raid charity
shops or boutiques. Wrap the gifts up for friends and distance relatives,
basically people who will never meet or have that Christmas conversation.
Not everyone wants to be that house which blinds any living
creature, so do not be afraid to hold back. If you have a lot of plants and
bushes outside your home then decorate wrap or net fairy lights around them.
Author bio: This post was written by Shehla Ali on behalf of
Poles Direct who supply curtain poles.