Review 2017: Little Street – a unique play opportunity for little people

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Secret Reviewer who wrote today’s post and to Little Street for inviting us along to their re-launch event!

https://www.little-street.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/littlestreet.co.uk/

About

Little Street in Frimley is a role play centre for young children. It is a miniature version of a town, giving little ones the perfect opportunity to try out lots of different experience and careers!

Open 7 days a week, Little Street offer four 90 minute play sessions a day for little people to explore their little world. Pre-booking is recommended as numbers are limited to ensure the best experience for everyone attending. Little Street is suitable for children up to 7 and even has a play pen for young babies as well as bumbo seats available for use.

My daughter (19 months) and I were lucky enough to attend the re-launch event after a recent refurbishment which has made way for a brand new vets and an air ambulance. As well as the new areas children can take a visit to Chicco’s cafe or Belle & Beau Beauty Salon. They can do their weekly shop at the (very well stocked!) supermarket.

There is also a construction site, complete with rocks, bricks and diggers and the Starlets Theatre, which has an Ice Cream stall, stage, musical instruments and many fancy dress costumes. In addition to this there are a variety of ride on toys which can be driven around the road. The attention to detail in each room is amazing, with appropriate wall stickers and fantastic props including animals in the vets, make up and hair products in the salon and many familiar items in the supermarket!

My daughter was a big fan of the new air ambulance and was fascinated by the rotors on top. She also loved the supermarket and kept taking any trolleys that she’d found outside the shop back to it!

The staff at Little Street were very welcoming and did a fantastic job of keeping the place tidy (and as much as possible items in the right rooms!) without disrupting the children’s play. It is very clean and everything is in great condition, you can tell it is very well looked after.

Food

The venue has a small café where you can purchase hot or cold drinks, cakes and healthy snacks.

Parking

There is some parking on site at the station for a small charge, or there is a car park a short walk away where you can park for free for 2 hours – ideal as the sessions you can book are 90 minutes.

Tips

Remember you and your little one will need to wear socks. Don’t worry if you forget as they do have some you can purchase when you get there!

It also has a handy buggy park – if you ask at reception they can give you a lock to secure your buggy in the shelter outside.

Rating out of 5

After wanting to visit Little Street for ages, we were so pleased that it lived up to and exceeded our expectations and we will certainly be going back in the future! It gets a fantastic 5 out of 5 from us!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Little Street. The NHM Secret Reviewers experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. She was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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Review 2017: Messy Play

About

The Spotlight centre in Popley are running a new messy play session on Thursday (term time only) from 10:30 – 12:30. For the bargain price of £1 your little one gets the opportunity to get as messy as possible, and you don’t have to clean up!!  So far we’ve played with cereal, sand and water, paint, playdough, noodles, jelly and rice. There are small vehicles to drive through the mess and make tracks with aswell.  At the first session there was a suggestion sheet for other messes that could be made so expect a lot of different opportunities over the oncoming weeks. There has been soft play for littler ones available too, but it is not out every week.

Tips

It goes without saying but just incase i’ll say it anyway; dress children and yourself in old clothing and bring a complete change of clothes, wipes and a towel, you will need them. Don’t forget a plastic bag for the messy clothes. If you’re like me and you take your shoes off at every opportunity bring yourself a spare pair of socks. A tub of water for washing off messy feet/hands is available in the messy room. Consider a carrier for little siblings so you’ve got your hands free to help the messy ones.

Facilities

The facilities are very good, in the baby change there is a changing table, toddler toilet seats, steps, potties and disabled access. More toilets are available elsewhere in the building. You can bring buggies into the messy play room as there is plenty of space available. Benches and chairs are available for a sit down and the centre is breastfeeding friendly.  There is plenty of free parking available on site.

Food

Tea, coffee and bottled water are available to buy for £1 and water/squash and biscuits are provided for the children. You can bring snacks and eat in the room, which is advisable as the session certainly runs into our lunchtime.

Small J thoroughly enjoyed getting messy, and I thoroughly enjoyed not cleaning it all up afterwards! The Johnsons would give messy play a 5/5.

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A NHM Readers experience: Encopresis (Severe constipation in young children)

This is a really heartbreaking post that a NHM Reader has asked me to share with you.

Please, please, please DO NOT tag anyone on this post in Facebook or any other social media. Thank you for your understanding.

The Mum who has sent this to me has asked that if anyone else is dealing with the same situation to please contact me, NorthHantsMum@gmail.com, and I will put you in touch with her.

The Mum has also asked me to state that she is absolutely NOT a medical person and this is just an account of her experience, not in any way meant to provide medical advice.

If you have a unique parenting experience that you would like to share with other NHM Readers, in the hope that your experience might help others, please email me your text and pictures to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

What is encopresis?

Encopresis is a symptom of chronic constipation. Children do not know or understand the sensation of when they need to do a poo.

Potty training

When my daughter first used the potty for a poo, when she was 18 months old, she screamed the house down. I was warned that she may have a negative reaction to it because it can be a bit of a shock to a toddler, when they no longer poo in their nappy but actually feel the poo coming away from their bodies. We thought nothing of this but continued trying to potty train our daughter.

When my daughter turned 3.5 years old I started to worry as she was still having daily poo accidents at nursery (she attended nursery 2.5 days a week). Nursery started saying that I needed to try to potty train her in earnest, despite us having tried a number of times.

Realising things weren’t “right”

With 9 months to go before my daughter started school and shortly after my daughters fourth birthday, I got the health visitor involved. She came round and gave me lots of information, particularly about the eric.org website. We had some success, for example my daughter did her first poo in the toilet just after her fourth birthday. The Health Visitor came back a month later to see if we had made some progress. We tried the marble in a jar solution and it seemed to improve things, but it didn’t last. The health visitor told us it was a developmental issue and would resolve itself eventually.

Doctors

In June 2015, three months before my daughter was due to start school, I decided to get the Doctors involved as my daughter was making no further progress with doing poo’s on the toilet and we wanted to get things resolved before she started school in September 2015. I requested a woman Doctor as I felt this was most appropriate. The Doctor questioned my daughter about her using the toilet and said she was very grown up for her age as she answered the Doctors questions far more comprehensively than expected. The Doctor then gave her a physical examination but found nothing physically wrong with her.

At the same time we were having the settling in periods at my daughters new school. I mentioned the issue that my daughter was having to the teacher, who informed me that it wouldn’t be a problem but I needed to check with the teaching assistant. I spoke to the teaching assistant who informed me (quite rudely) that if my daughter wasn’t capable of “cleaning herself up” then I or my husband would be called into school each time, to clean her ourselves as nobody at school was able to touch her because of child protection policies. (I have since found out that it was unacceptable for her to even suggest this).

At this point, our daughter refused to clean herself so I spent three agonising months worrying about whether I and/or my husband were going to be called out of work regularly to sort out daughter out. It was even suggested by another “helpful” person that we homeschool our daughter until this “issue” is resolved.

School

My daughter started school in September 2015 and we were still no further forward. She was still having daily accidents in her pants. The school were extremely unhelpful. I felt judged and the Teaching Assistant implied on a number of occasions that we hadn’t tried to potty train our daughter. It was pretty awful that my daughter would run out of school at the end of the day and the first thing she would say was how many accidents she had had that day. If my daughter didn’t come straight out and tell me, the Teaching Assistant would announce it in the playground.

In October 2015 my four year old daughter was bullied by some girls in her class. My daughter wasn’t good at telling people when she had done an accident, probably because she was embarrassed even at that age (One of the symptoms of encopresis is that you can no longer smell your own poo’s and I also think she had become immune to the smell.)

Two girls in her class started calling her “stinky”. When she came home from school that day she was very quiet. I knew something was wrong but she wouldn’t tell me. At bed time, I asked her what was wrong and she burst into tears. Proper, awful, body rocking sobbing. It was utterly heart breaking and totally gut wrenching to have my four year old in a state of complete distress that I could do nothing about. We explained gently to her that she needs to tell the teacher or teaching assistant when she’s had an accident. I completely fell apart that night after she cried herself to sleep in my arms.

The next day I spoke to the teacher about the bullying incident and she shrugged her shoulders and said that, despite them trying to ensure that no bullying happened at school, there was nothing she could do about it. Ironically the subject of anti-bullying was covered at school that week but this clearly didn’t mean anything in reality! I was furious so got straight onto the Doctors for another appointment.

I tried to get an appointment with the woman Doctor who had given my daughter her physical examination but, for whatever reason, she wasn’t available. I had done more research by this time and was utterly convinced that my daughter had encopresis. My husband and daughter came to the Doctors appointment as well. The Doctor told me that my daughter didn’t have encopresis (without even checking her over!) and that I was clearly a neurotic mother and that my daughter would learn to use the toilet in her own time. I then requested to be referred to a paediatrician (a friend had reminded me that my husband had medical insurance cover for our family and my daughter would be covered under this) and he refused to refer us to the paediatrician until after my daughter had tried two weeks of Movicol, the laxative. We tried two weeks of movicol, a low dose, and it made no difference at all.

In the meantime another friend had been to see the School nurse for a medical issue that her child was having and she mentioned the issues we were having. (I will always be extremely grateful to my friend for her help with this).  The school nurse said that I had to demand that the Doctor refer us to the paediatrician otherwise they wouldn’t do anything.

I then phoned the Doctor, again having to wait another week for a phone call appointment and had a twenty minute discussion” with the Doctor who eventually gave in and said he would give us a referral but “it wouldn’t make any difference because your daughter doesn’t have encopresis”.

I phoned the school nurse (did you know there are only 3 school nurses that cover ALL of the schools in North Hampshire?) and left a voicemail. They never called me back.

I mentioned in passing to the teacher at school that it was probably encopresis. She had never heard of it before and said there was nothing she could do until it was diagnosed by a Doctor.

By this time it was Christmas 2015. It took a week to be referred to the private paediatrician and we managed to get an appointment between Christmas and New Year. (I can’t tell you how grateful I am for private medical insurance!)

We spent 30 minutes with the paediatrician. She spent 15 minutes talking to our daughter about how she needed to use the toilet and why wasn’t she using the toilet as she wasn’t a baby. She then asked to check over our daughter’s tummy. Immediately her tone changed. She said she could feel impaction and that our daughter needed an X-ray. We had the x-ray there and then (which our daughter really enjoyed! Children! ) and were able to look immediately at the picture. The Paediatrician explained the picture and showed that our daughters bowel was so large that the impaction had expanded to under her ribs and it was one of the worst cases of encopresis that she had seen in 15 years of being a peaditrician. Our daughters lower half was literally full of poo.

All of the dark patches are poo.
All of the dark patches. including in her ribs, are poo.

She put our daughter on a hard core case of laxatives (8 sachets of movicol at one point) for two weeks. We were literally swimming in poo. It was awful but my daughter coped admirably. We cancelled all of our plans between Christmas and New Year because we needed to be at home to “sort things out”.

It was a huge relief once we had the diagnosis and I thought our troubles were over…

I phoned school to explain the situation as my daughter’s laxatives didn’t finish until the Thursday of the first week of school. I was told that because they didn’t have a shower or the facilities to clean her up, she would need to stay home. So my daughter had to have four days off school whilst the laxatives “cleared her system out”. I spoke to the head teacher who sympathised with our situation and she said she would get the school nurse engaged for our support.

We went back to see the paediatrician and talked through the different strategies that we would need to engage. Our daughter would need to sit on the toilet for 10 minutes as soon as she got up and that she needed to sit on the toilet frequently throughout the day. We needed to make it as fun as possible. Lots of games, books and toys in the toilet to keep her amused and keep it “fun”.

We tried all of these strategies but it was extremely distressing. Our daughter would scream relentlessly if we tried to get her to sit on the toilet. It took all of our negotiation skills to get her to use the toilet at all for a while.

Six weeks later I saw the head mistress and asked if she had heard back from the school nurse. She said the School nurses were very busy and as our daughter wasn’t a critical case they would get to her when they got to her.

The next day we had parents evening. We were told by the teacher that our daughter was extremely “behind” and unlikely to catch up because she had missed so much class time because of her accidents and would be failing YR. When I asked the teacher what she was doing to resolve this she responded with: “I have 29 other children to teach”.

It took about 3 hours for this to sink in and it was only when I got home and relayed the conversation back with my husband, that I got really, really angry.

School Nurse

The next morning I phoned the school nurses, managed to actually speak to someone and lost my rag. I ended up bursting into tears and ranting about how I felt that all of the institutions in my daughters life had let her down.

Within 2.5 hours I had a school nurse sitting on my sofa. It’s a huge credit to them that they responded to my call as quickly as they did.

The school nurse spent 1.5 hours with me, asking all sorts of questions about whether my daughter had meconium when she was born, what her first experience of the potty was like, what her diet was like, etc. etc. By the end of our conversation she did say that I was clearly well read on the subject and that we appeared to have tried everything. She then informed me that my daughters condition is very serious and could lead to her having a colostomy bag and not being able to have children when she got older. She also explained that my daughter needs to be considered as disabled and needs to be treated, especially by school, as disabled. I got a bit hysterical when I explained this to my husband when he got home that evening from work.

The school nurse worked through a care plan for my daughter which involves her sitting on the toilet for 5 minutes every hour. She had to drink at least 650ml’s of water a day at school because dehydration can exacerbate constipation. We were to stop her milk in class immediately and she wasn’t allowed chocolate or bananas anymore. (I was only allowed to change our daughters school meals with the permission of the school nurse and I had to list all of the meals that our daughter could no longer have).

To her credit again, the school nurse went in to see the school the following day, took lots of leaflets from the eric.org website and highlighted to them just how serious my daughters condition is. She told them that they needed a stool for my daughter in the toilet and she needed regular support at school. She also advised that they implement a book that they used to record the times she had been to the toilet and the water she had drunk so that my husband and I were informed.

It took nearly 4 weeks to get the care plan implemented in school. By this time it was March 2016. I was advised by another friend to set up regular meetings with the head teacher, to keep the school accountable. We have had a meeting with the head teacher every month for the past 6 months and they seem to be upholding their end of the bargain. However, it was eye opening to me that they could have turned my daughter and her extra care down and we would have had to move her to another school! I didn’t realise they had a choice! (I have since found out that this isn’t true: http://www.eric.org.uk/Schools/Toilet_Training)

In April 2016 the school started to invite the “Physical Inclusion Development Officer” (PIDO) to our monthly meetings. We explained that our daughter had recently started having wee accidents again as well as poo accidents. The PIDO explained that it was likely that our daughter was impacted again and would need to have another “flush”. She recommended that our daughter have at least 16 sachets of movicol over a couple of days. It was another horrific experience and we were using everything we could possibly think of to get the movicol into our daughter, including making ice pops and jelly with it. Our daughter thought it was brilliant as she had a week off school AND jelly.

We had an appointment with the private paediatrician at the end of May 2016 and she said that because we’ve tried everything and our daughter still doesn’t seem to be able to use the toilet properly, she clearly has a deep seated fear of the toilet. She referred us to a child psychologist. We had our initial meeting with the psychologist which took 1.5 hours and at the end of the meeting Dr Ana hugged me and told me that I was finally with the right person and she would help us. She needed to send a letter to the medical insurance explaining the situation so that we could have authority for them to pay for future sessions.

A week later the insurance company turned down any extra funding because our daughter’s issue was “behavioural” not medical. We never heard from the child psychologist again. We were advised that if we wanted to go through with seeing a psychologist we would need to pay £3k in fee’s. My husband and I had many long conversations about what to do and agreed that we didn’t want our child to be used as a lab rat and that we would handle things ourselves. I still stand by this.

During the summer holidays in 2016  we went to see Lily at the Life Right centre, a hypnotherapist that another friend had suggested (Another person who I am deeply indebted too).

Y1 at school

On the way to school on the first day of Y1, September 2016, I had a chat with my daughter about her being old enough to understand that she needs to use the toilet now she was 6 years old and in Y1. We had nearly a month of her using the toilet and having no accidents at school. It was awesome although I’m now convinced she was partly withholding as she would have an accident as soon as she got home. School were putting her on the rainbow for every day that she didn’t have an accident and she was so pleased with herself! :-D.

We did have to start all over again with her new Y1 teacher, but they are far more understanding and sympathetic than her old YR teacher. This has really helped as they have made more of an effort to understand and to reward our daughter when she has done well with her toilet training.

In Y1 the staff categorically won’t change her because she’s “older now”, so she has to change herself. I have very mixed emotions about this. It can take her up to 45 minutes for her to change herself so she often misses lunchtime play because she has an accident after lunch.

Then she got sick in October 2016. And everything regressed. We had half term and she categorically refused to use the toilet. We made some progress after half term at school but I know she’s just exhausted with it all now.

This week she missed her Christmas play because she had an accident just before the play and managed to get poo over her outfit because there weren’t enough people to look after her whilst she changed herself. My poor husband had to sit through the play because I got called out just before it started, to change her, and he had to watch a play with all the other children, knowing that our child was missing out on ANOTHER key milestone in her life. I spent 15 minutes sobbing in reception, being judged my the receptionists and went home in the end.

Frustration

In YR in May our daughter started lying to the teaching assistant when the TA asks her if she’d had an accident. As a result of her lying to an adult about having an accident, she was immediately put on the “thunder cloud”. This did not sit right with me. Yes, she should not be lying to an adult, but it’s not as straight forward as that. Plus, I have no idea if they humiliate her in class by explaining to the rest of the class why she is on the “thundercloud”.

I mentioned it to the school nurse and asked if I was being a neurotic mother and she said absolutely not because in this situation we should all be focusing on the positive, never the negative.

In a recent meeting with the school in October 2016 the head mistress said that our daughter is using this experience as “attention” seeking and that she seems to enjoy the attention that she gets when she changes herself. I don’t doubt that my daughter is enjoying the extra attention as she’s a smart cookie, and this has also been a struggle at home as she loves telling people that she has a “medical condition”, even though we’ve tried not to talk about it in front of her. .

In Y1 it seems to be better. Although at home our daughter categorically refuses to accept when she’s had an accident and will scream at us and resort to violence if we even suggest changing her.

Support

We were advised by the paediatrician NOT to make a complaint about the Doctor who called me a neurotic mother because the paediatrician wrote a letter to the practice explaining the extent of my daughters encopresis which made it obvious that the Doctor had made a big mistake.

The practice also changed our daughters laxatives in April 2016 from Movicol to Laxido with no consultation. When our daughter had four nights of liquid poo accidents when she started taking laxido (it was horrific), the first night poo accidents she had had since she was 18 months old, I spoke to the Doctors and was told that they had switched to laxido because it was cheaper and they needed to document exactly what the impact of the Laxido was because it had the same ingredients as the Movicol.

The practice also refused to initially give my daughter movicol because we had it on a private prescription so I had to go through the whole rigmarole of obtaining the online log in details, only to be told they wouldn’t give it to our daughter without a telephone appointment, the first of which would be available in 10 days time. I had to phone the private paediatrcian again, to get her to intervene.

We are now seeing Lily at The Life Right Wellbeing centre and things seem to be getting better. Lily has supported lots of other children who have had encopresis before so we keeping everything crossed that things start to improve soon.

004

Updated in June 2017

(The Mum who wrote this article sent me this recent update)

In May 2017 our daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. In January 2017 we decided to take matters into our own hands, got in touch with a health coach and had our daughter on a very strict diet for three months. We were advised NOT to do this by the medical profession, but had we not done this, we wouldn’t have discovered that our daughter is a coeliac.

Once or twice we “slipped up” and that was when I realised that there was a direct link to the number of accidents and when our daughter ate gluten.

It took another 9 weeks for her to be diagnosed. She had to eat gluten for the whole 9 weeks, was in intense pain and it was horrific. I don’t think there is much worse than intentionally poisoning your child, giving them something that you know is going to cause them intense pain. She had two sets of blood tests in Basingstoke hospital and Southampton general and both came back to say that she has coeliac disease.

We were then referred to the “Paediatric Gastroenterology” department down in Southampton as there isn’t one in Basingstoke. It took us THREE YEARS to be referred to the right people. These are the people we should have seen from the very beginning.

They told us that our daughter should never have been on movicol. They put her on Senokot. It made a difference almost immediately. I am still processing that the 18 months of hell that we went through could have been avoided.

I am extremely grateful that we got a diagnosis of coeliac disease for our daughter so early on in her life. There are over 200 different symptoms which is why it’s often so hard to diagnosis. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories since about the complications that coeliac disease can cause.

If I’ve learnt anything from this experience that I would like to share, it is that if your child has encopresis, DEMAND a referral from your GP to your closest Paediatric Gastroenterology team, as they are really the only people who know what they are talking about.

Things we have learnt about encopresis

Encopresis affects 1 in 100 children.

The NHS won’t diagnose encopresis until a child is at least 8 years old. If you want a diagnosis earlier, you need to get an x-ray privately.

Chocolate, Bananas and milk can all cause constipation.

Not only have we cut these out of our daughters diet but we have all found further research that suggest that all forms of dairy products can cause constipation, so we tried cutting out the majority of dairy out of our daughters diet and we try to substitute her food for a few months. However, after three months it wasn’t making much of a difference and it’s actually quite dangerous to cut food out of a child’s diet so our daughter now has limited dairy and goats milk.

The NHS have been pretty crap for us in this situation. Even the NHS website is disparaging about what encopresis is. The fact that we had to get a private paediatrician to take us seriously, speaks volumes.

Tesco’s sell the cheapest pants. We spend the same on pants now as we did on nappies when our daughter was little. I used to clean them out but now we just bin the majority of them. Cleaning poo off of her other clothes at the end of each day is demoralising enough.

The eric.org website is a fantastic educational tool. It has lots of information and suggested strategies for helping to over come encopresis.

We cannot go anywhere without our changing bag. We have to carry supplies with us everywhere we go. It’s not a big thing but it is a thing.

Vanish carpet cleaner is the best thing to get poo out of the carpet.

Following a rigid plan of monitoring when and what our child eats, drinks, how much water she has in a day, how often she has sat on the toilet, the level of what her poo is like,  remembering to sit her on the toilet within 15 minutes of every meal (often while she is refusing to sit on the toilet) and cleaning out clothes and pants filled with poo, on a daily basis has taken it’s toll. My husband and I thrive under a challenge but after nearly 2.5 years of battling to get the best support for our daughter and the daily stress of living with our daughters situation, we are exhausted.

Movicol sucks the water out of our child’s body, to redistribute it to the poo. This means that our daughter has to drink a LOT more water than other children. It’s taken 1.5 years for school to really understand this and I frequently have to remind them that she needs to drink more water at school.

One of the side effects of movicol is severe gas.

We don’t have holidays abroad unless it’s staying with friends, because of the change of water, diet and routine, access to laundry facilities and much as I am desperate for a holiday beside a swimming pool, it’s just not practical for us.

When your child has a chronic health condition which means they soil themselves between 5-8 times a day, at any given moment, it affects everything. Everything.

Even if you tell school about the medical reasons as to why your child is off school, you can still expect a snotty letter telling you that your child’s attendance is lower than required.

I dread our child getting sick. It takes a lot longer for her “poo” to recover. Once she is better, even if we reduce her movicol, it still takes a few weeks for things to “settle” down. This is even more challenging because we can’t let her wear pull up’s because this will undermine all of the progress we have made in the past year.

It has been an extremely stressful experience for our family. We’ve been told, time and again, that encopresis is more common in boys and one friend suggested that our daughter might be autistic. Nope, she’s in intense pain a lot of the time and no one knew.

Not being able to talk about it to people, because we don’t want to embarrass our daughter, has been tough. Really tough.

The few friends who know about our daughters situation, a couple have suggested that we move her to a different school. If only it was as straightforward as this. Our daughter loves school and has been through enough stress with her encopresis that we don’t want to move her to start all over again. It’s taken a while but it finally feels that school realise how serious her condition is. It would be nice if they had a little bit of sympathy and understanding, but you can’t have everything!

Final Thoughts

The paediatrician said that there is nothing as parents that we could have done to stop this. It’s a medical condition and no matter what we did, it still would have happened to our daughter.

Being an “encopresis parent” is a very lonely experience. Many of our friends don’t understand what we are dealing with, let alone strangers. We are lucky that we haven’t had many disparraging comments from “well meaning” people. It still hurts though. Most people have never even heard of encopresis and therefore have no understanding at all.

In my experience, if you think your child has encopresis, be prepared to fight. I read online that a man in the US made his child sit with some poo on their nose for a whole day, as punishment for having continuous accidents. This made me weep. All of the children out there who have been mocked, beaten, ridiculed for having this condition because their loved ones didn’t understand or weren’t prepared to fight for them. I am determind that this doesn’t happen to my daughter, even if it has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life. This is also why I am sharing some of our story. If our experience can help another child so that they don’t have to go through what my daughter has, then that will be fantastic.

Our daughters condition is not resolved yet, by any means. It could take years and I’m terrified of the bullying that my daughter is likely to experience the older she gets.

My daughter doesn’t deserve to be treated the way that she might be. She didn’t ask for this.

I am going to continue to do what I can to try to improve everything for my daughter and I will continue to ensure that she gets the best level of care that she deserves.

Other Resources

http://childhoodsoiling.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/encopresis

http://www.eric.org.uk/Schools/Toilet_Training

A really brilliant facebook group via this website: http://childhoodsoiling.blogspot.co.uk/

A great example of a Hampshire school’s toileting policy: http://los-infants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Toileting-Policy-2013.pdf

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/supporting_children_with_medical_conditions_briefing_sheet__autumn_2015

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Review 2016: How do reindeer fly?

Thank you very much to Helen who went to see “How do reindeer fly” yesterday and sent her review to me last night!!! christmas%20list%20high-resolution%20export-422

Proteus Christmas Show lives up to expectations!

About

We went to the Proteus children’s Christmas show last year and the year before and absolutely loved it both times, so we were very excited about going along to ‘How do Reindeer Fly?’ this Christmas. Expectations were very high for what is fast becoming a Christmas tradition in our house.

In ‘How do reindeer fly?’ The audience are invited to Christmas HQ to see the elves at work. After a creative demonstration of gift-wrapping the elves take a hard earned tea break and then, once all the ‘visiting elves’ are sporting reindeer antlers, they introduce us to Donner and Blitzen. Things go a little bit awry and Mary Christmas has to call on the visiting elves (children in the audience) to save Christmas.

As with previous years’ shows, the audience seamlessly become part of the show with the children helping the elves with the magic that makes the reindeer fly. There is less moving between rooms than in previous years, with the show mostly based in one room. This seems to work well and there is a greater sense of space than in previous years. Towards the end there is a short walk into another (beautiful!) snowy space. Here there are some lovely sensory activities and then Father Christmas arrives to tell the children a story.

The show did not disappoint. My 4 year old belly-laughed more times than I could count and was completely engaged with the story and the activities. My 1 year old was so fascinated by what was going on that he actually sat still for a while! He enjoyed meeting Donna and Blitzen so much that he kept going back to look for them when they had gone. The team at Proteus seem to have a knack for producing children’s shows that are entertaining, funny and interactive whilst being lovely and relaxed. ‘Heartwarming’ is the best word I can think of to capture the atmosphere they create.

Overall we had a brilliant time, we left with many happy memories and some Christmas souvenirs. The team at Proteus should be commended for creating, once again, an imaginative, wonderful Christmas story. We’ll be back next year for more!

How do reindeer fly is showing at Proteus creation space until Saturday 24th December and is sold out (sorry!). Even if you’re too late for this years’ show make sure you check out what they’re doing next year!

For more information see http://www.proteustheatre.com/creation-space

Tips

I’m told that children who attended the show will receive an email from Father Christmas sometime this weekend!

The children meet Father Christmas at the end but he tells the group a story. There is no expectation of a one-to-one so it would be fine for children who are less keen on meeting him.

Most of the children there were around 3-6 years I would guess, with a few younger siblings. The show is advertised as a preschool show and it is perfect for preschool-aged children. Older children probably wouldn’t get a lot from it.

Although this is an interactive show there is no pressure and parents can stay with children and help them at all times.

Facilities

Proteus has baby changing, toilets, a café (with amazing cake!) and free parking.

Price

£7.70 per ticket

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A NHM Reader’s Experience: Tongue Tie

This is a heartbreaking read. I can relate to so much of what is in this post because Miss NHM also had a posterior Tongue Tie and it wasn’t identified until she was 9 weeks old.

Reading today’s post has bought bank a lot of painful memories for me of that very difficult time but hopefully this Mum’s experience may help other Mum’s who are going through, or have been through, the same thing. The last sentence on this post is spot on.

Thank you very much to the anonymous reader for sharing her experience. I know it’s not easy writing something like this but hopefully it’s helped as part of the healing process.

If you would like to share your experience of anything to do with being a Mum or parent, please get in touch.

A NHM Reader’s Experience: Tongue Tie

Tongue tie, as a first time mum I had no clue what this was and the problems your little one can face from it. Throughout my pregnancy as like all mummies to be, I just wanted my baby to be healthy and arrive into the world safely.

However Tongue tie was one of the things no one had even thought to make me aware of, considering it is so common with apparently 1 in 8 babies being born with it and how easily it is to fix. Hopefully by sharing our story I hope more mummies are made aware of tongue tie.

On the arrival of my beautiful baby girl, I was put in a side room at the hospital. The midwife initially checked my baby could breastfeed and then I was left to it. We saw a health assistant once more briefly to check that everything was OK, the paediatrician quickly checked her over and we were given the all clear to go home.

On going home we saw the midwife for the follow up visits. On one of these, they weighed my little girl and found she had dropped weight but this was less then 10% so they were not concerned.

However on her five day check, we went to the clinic and on weighing her, it was found her weight had dropped further. As a new mum, five days post giving birth you are very emotional and it is the last thing you want to hear that your baby is dropping weight, rather then gaining.

At the clinic I saw two older midwifes and they asked me to show them how I was feeding her. This was an eeekkkk moment as I’m not a mum that is confident breastfeeding in front of people. However I knew I had to suck this up and get on with it, so I did.

On doing this, I was told immediately the way I was holding her was wrong and to hold her like a rugby ball under my arm. I was then asked questions about my milk supply and they came to the conclusion this was failing and told me to get some formula in!

I held myself together but on leaving the clinic and getting back to the car, the tears just rolled down as it was the worst thing I could have been told, that I was unable to feed my baby well enough and all I felt was that I was a complete failure.

That evening I tried to struggle through but feeling so low and with no real support on breastfeeding, I caved and sent my husband to Tescos at midnight to buy formula. All I could think was I was starving my baby who was crying and getting more frustrated as she was struggling to feed, so I had to get some milk in her someway. However this did not solve our problems and just brought on a whole load of different issues.

We started on formula and within days we had stopped breastfeeding altogether as she just couldn’t latch properly. We thought this was best and her weight started going up. The midwifes were happy and we were subsequently discharged from their care. We thought great our baby is now on the right tracks and all will be fine. How wrong could we have been!

In the subsequent weeks our little girl started to suffer with colic, reflux and projectile vomiting whenever she had a bottle. The colic was the worst as our poor girl was literally in pain and cried continuously for hours on end as she was just full of wind, to the point she would rattle with it.

We spoke to the health visitor who said to see the GP, so we did. I explained all her symptoms and I was just given medication to try to help settle her. At no point did the GP or health visitor check in her mouth to see that she had a good latch but it was a case of being told that babies do suffer from colic, sickness and reflux when being fed formula and that it would pass.

However the symptoms were just getting worse to the point that one day while I was home on my own, I had given her a bottle but she started to choke and turn blue.

This is honestly the most scary situation seeing your baby looking terrified as they cannot breath. I managed to get her to throw up and she started breathing again but was inconsolably crying.

I took her straight to A&E as my instincts knew there was something wrong with her and this was not normal. On arrival, I asked her to be booked in and told the receptionist what the problem was, she looked over the desk and commented, well she looks ok now, she’s breathing! I couldn’t believe this and politely but in a no messing with me tone, said that I still wanted her seen to regardless of the wait.

On seeing the nurse in triage, due to her age we were taken through to see the doctor. I again explained the situation and what had happened but they had no clue why she had choked and put it down to one of those things.

The doctor in A&E referred the details to a paediatrician and we were taken to the day ward for observation. They again checked her over and I explained what had happened. The consultant said it sounded like she had just choked and that this can happen when babies are so little as they don’t have a gag reflex yet. She said if it happens again to put her on her front and pat her back which should clear it.

Each time we saw someone we were asked if this was our first baby and when we said yes, the ‘look’ of oh they are first time parents worrying too much came out. As she didn’t do this again while we were there, we were sent home with the advice we had been given.

Over the months proceeding this, we struggled on and found ways to help stop the choking with reflux wedges and sitting her upright for an hour after a bottle. While we did this the next challenge we had was getting her to drink a bottle. Our poor girl was still suffering and we felt like we just had to struggle on as it would get better in time, as this was what we were being told repeatedly.

On taking her to her monthly weigh in, her weight was really starting to struggle. The health visitor at my local one looked at me and said oh her weight has dropped what are you doing with her, what’s happened to change this?

Again this is not what I wanted to be faced with, a question to make me feel as though I was at fault for my beautiful baby girl not gaining as much weight as she should. I replied to say nothing had changed but I was still having the same issues. A

gain no one thought to check in her mouth and it was put down to a blip and she would pick up again. I swiftly left the clinic, again feeling as though I had failed my baby girl. I hated going to the weigh ins after this, to the point I would work myself up beforehand so I decided to buy my own scales and do her weight checks myself at home.

On approaching four months old, her weight had dropped to between the 9th and 25th centile. She was also getting to the point she would only drink an ounce or two of milk at a time and then she would refuse anymore. I knew this was due to the pain it was causing her so I spoke to my health visitor but she didn’t really help and said to go and see her on the next weigh in.

I thought this is not right and I was so worried as I knew my little girl was suffering, I needed to find out what was causing it so I decided to google her symptoms. Normally I would never do this as it can give you so many horror stories and cause unnecessary worry but I had to see if there was any possibilities of what was wrong with her. On looking at the search it all pointed to tongue tie.

The helpful reference was this chart that listed out the symptoms: image2

From looking at this list, my little girl had all the symptoms so I wasted no time and booked her into see the GP. The GP checked her but wasn’t sure so asked the midwife at my practice to have a look. She first of all put a finger in her mouth to see what suction she had and the poor girl didn’t have any. They agreed the best thing to do was to refer her to the paediatrician at the hospital that dealt with this and go from there.

On speaking with his secretary on the Monday morning, she took my details and then asked how my baby was fed, I said by bottle and suddenly the tone of the call changed, where she informed me that the paediatrician only dealt with breastfed babies.

Even with me explaining that there was no possibility she could do this and how her health was suffering, I was told he may see her but it would be at his absolute discretion, plus I would have to wait three weeks for this honour.

On putting the phone down I thought to myself sod that, I’m not being made to feel like a second class citizen for bottle feeding my baby as she couldn’t breastfeed so I looked online for somewhere I could have her seen to privately. This is where I found a website that listed all the tongue tie practitioners in the country,

http://www.tongue-tie.org.uk/find-a-tongue-tie-divider.html

I looked through the list of practitioners in my local area and called Katherine. On speaking to her and trying to discuss the problems we were having, I just broke down on her and cried.

Katherine was great, she said she could certainly help and gave me an appointment for the following day at her clinic. On going to the appointment, after explaining the symptoms and looking at her weight chart, she looked in her mouth and confirmed she had a posterior tongue tie which was restricting her tongue by over 50%.

Katherine explained that posterior tongue tie is not picked up so easily as it is not visible but it was very easily treated. Katherine told me what she would do to release the tongue tie which involved one cut to the piece of skin with surgical scissors and that it would take less then a minute.

She asked me to leave the room while she did it and by the time I got to the waiting room and sat down, it was all over. One little snip with the scissors by a trained health professional was all that was needed. This cost £95 privately and I can’t tell you the relief that I felt knowing I wasn’t an over bearing first time mum and that my instincts were right. More importantly, my beautiful little girl would hopefully now start to overcome this and be out of pain.

Picture of her posterior tongue tie
image1

Picture after the procedure

image3I will say this made a difference straight away. The colic and wind settled down as she was not sucking in air. The reflux also calmed down and choking stopped over the proceeding days.

However she had learnt to adapt to having a restricted tongue for the first four months of her life so she had to relearn how to use her mouth and the muscles with her tongue now freed.

This took several months to reeducate her but she is now a completely changed baby. She’s happy, no longer in pain and her weight is back up, which makes me one happy mum.

Looking back, I have such a mixture of emotions about what we went through as a family. From anger to pure sadness that my little girl was left to struggle and be in pain for the first four months of her life.

I also feel so let down by all the health professionals that saw her as no one picked this up sooner. Such a simple thing to fix but the problems and pain it caused her unnecessarily, when she could have been thriving and happy.

Ultimately I have learnt from this, that you should always trust your instincts as a mum, you know your baby best and don’t think you are worrying unnecessarily.

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Publicising your products and services on NorthHantsMum

I’ve been running the Guest Post series (every Wednesday) for nearly four years now. It’s proven to be very successful. However, I’ve noticed that I get a lot more uptake in readership when I publish Reviews.

I realised a while back that I didn’t have the capacity to attend everything that I was invited too for NorthHantsMum, so I set up a secret FB group for NHM Writers. It’s been very successful and I’ve had some lovely feedback from the writers and the people whose products and services we have written about. It’s wonderful to know that I can share the NHM experience with other Mum’s and families, whilst giving them an opportunity to write and experience something new.

There are almost 3000 parents hooked into NorthHantsMum through a variety of different ways, so the review of a product/service has the potential to reach a lot of people.

Please note, I am passionate about supporting local businesses, so I try to ensure that all review posts have a positive spin. I’ve seen several other bloggers rip a product or service apart on their blog and I don’t agree with this because you don’t know the impact your negative review will have on their business and lives. There are ways to mention when you have received a poor product or review without being harsh.

So… if you have a product or service that you think would be applicable to parents in the area and you would like either myself or one of my NHM writers to come and experience your product/service in exchange for a review post on NorthHantsMum, then please drop me a line at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com and I will get something organised for you.

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Never Underestimate the Power of an Outfit

Today’s post has been written by one of the NHM Writers, Lindsey.

Thank you very much to the team at Festival Place who invited us along to the event which took place on Saturday 7th May in the centre of Festival Place.

FASHION

Never Underestimate the Power of an Outfit

I don’t know about you, but I always get a little fashion-perplexed when summer finally hits in the UK. After months of damp, cold, windy conditions I become pretty fanatical about my skinny jeans and big boots combo. So when the sun comes out and the temperature begins to rise like it did on the weekend, I find myself in a bit of a fashion vortex. Especially when hot trends seem to be on permanent rotation: dungarees – in or out? Jelly shoes – cool or ridiculous? Boho chic – didn’t Sienna Miller do that about 15 years ago??

I needn’t have worried. This weekend not only hailed the beautiful summer weather, but it also brought with it the delightful stylist JP and the ‘Big Brand Fashion Fix Event’. For two days, Basingstoke played fashion hostess to dozens of gorgeous models. Yep, you read that right. Beautiful, chiselled, perfect specimens of human perfection – and I made sure I got myself a front row seat!

Over the course of two days, numerous runway shows took place, crammed to the rafters with looks, trends and products. Each one focused on a different element of fashion fabulousness, ranging from mono sports luxe to floral bomber jackets. Apparently dungarees are in. And who knew that the ankle was the body part de jure for summer 2016?

One of the best things about this event is that everything displayed on the runway is available within Festival Place. Basically meaning you can step away from a show, walk straight into a shop, and leave home with an outfit you know is going to rock. For someone whose last shopping trip involved coming home with five pairs of ‘going-out’ shorts, this guiding hand was very welcome. I saw looks from Superdry, River Island, French Connection and M&S that I would actually consider wearing. In public. JP, the springy, enthusiastic stylist who compered the show says on his website that his job is ‘translating the clothes from hanger to life’. Handy indeed.

My tips for the event? Be brave and take a pew! There were pretty decent crowds for the catwalk shows I saw, but lots of empty seats astride the catwalk – I pushed my way through, plonked myself down and soon enough people followed suit. It could almost have been Milan, darling!

It’s also definitely worth booking yourself in for a pampering at the Health and Beauty Lounge. I saw plenty of people emerging butterfly-like with fabulous updos, nails and beauty treatments from the likes of Benefit, Clarins, Dior, Hair Lab, Shear Beauty and Lush. Rumour has it there was a fashion photographer snapping away at people sporting the appropriate level of cool, so I’d say it’s worth making sure you look awesome. I didn’t get papped. Weird.

The runway is smack bang in the middle of Festival place, so you’re only ever a few steps away from a toilet, restaurant, or a spot of shopping. On the child-friendly front, there are lots of baby-changing facilities across the centre, and many of the eateries warmly welcome breastfeeding mums and babies. Judging by the mini models strutting down the catwalk and the little fashion monsters in the front row, I’d say that The Big Brand Fashion Fix was pretty child-friendly too!

Festival Place has several large car parks (both long and short stay) so it’s easy to get to, and pretty much all of it is undercover, so even if the rains do return (which I’m putting money on), you’ll keep dry on your quest for fashion nirvana.

The whole event was completely free, and if you tweeted a selfie with #fashionplace, you were in the running to win £1000 Festival Place vouchers. I gave the best blue steel pose I could muster in my snap. I’m sure that £1000 will be winging its way to me any day now…

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NHM Writer: Thinking about what to pack in your Hospital Bag!

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Writer who has requested to remain anonymous. Fab post!

Thinking about what to pack in your Hospital Bag!

As I write this I am 33 weeks pregnant with our second child and I am beginning to think about getting my hospital bag together!!

By the time my due date comes along it will have been 3.5 years since I gave birth to our first son so I have been doing some research to remind myself of the sort of things I need to pack.

My labour last time was pretty quick so once I was examined and admitted there was actually no time to go back to the car and collect my bag, luckily, we had our phones with us so we could take some photos as soon as our son was born. My plan this time is to take two bags with me; a smaller backpack with items for during my labour which I will take in first and another one with the rest of the items in to be brought in when needed.

Lots of lists are put together by shops and websites who perhaps have an interest in convincing you (and selling to you) all the items which are ‘absolutely essential’ for your hospital stay.

Obviously, nothing is absolutely essential, and my priorities may well vary from your own, but using my previous experience (and that of a few close friends), I’ve put together a list of items we considered essential along with a few ‘nice to haves’ and a couple of items that you definitely don’t need to take … believe us!!

For You

Maternity Notes
These need to be kept close at hand and taken into hospital / to the midwife with you whenever you go. As the weeks go on I will store the notes in my hospital bag, taking them out with me as required and then returning them when home. It would be also good to keep a copy of your Birth Plan (if you have one) with your notes at this point too.

Comfortable (old) clothes to labour in.
Don’t worry about finding the perfect nightie for labour. Last time I ended up giving birth in the vest top that I arrived in (as I said, it was relatively quick) and the first thing my son did was poo on me so it went straight in the bin. This time I will also be taking some comfy trousers … just in case my labour is a little longer!

Depending on how long you end up staying on the maternity ward you will also want some loose, comfortable clothes to wear in hospital once you’re out of your nightwear and also to travel home in.

Pants
You can buy disposable maternity briefs but I don’t really like them I will be taking a couple of my old pairs which I can throw away if necessary and then I’ll be treating myself to some new ones to replace them …. any excuse!!

It’s worth remembering, if you’ve had a vaginal birth you will most probably be sore and bruised (and possibly stitched) and if you had a c-section you’ll obviously have a very sore stomach and stiches – neither option would be fun with tight fitting or uncomfortable pants!!

Maternity Towels
While we’re on the subject (sort of) don’t forget maternity towels … without going into too much detail, these are an absolute essential!! If I remember right, I found Tescos, Morrisons, Boots and Mothercare to be best. Unfortunately the ones I got from Sainsburys gave me thrush (NOT what you need when you’ve just had a baby) – I think it was something to do with the top layer. You want a smooth ‘cotton feel’ layer … not plastic!! I’m planning to take a pack of 10 in with me.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given was not to use standard sanitary towels because the top layer (which works so well when you have your period) can rub and catch any stitches you may have – eeeeekkkkk!

Nightwear
In my case, I’ll be taking a pair of pjs with me. Nothing too fancy; I’m afraid I always go for comfort over cute. You might also want a dressing gown for wandering around the unit, the same goes for slippers … think I’ll be taking a hoodie and a pair of flip flops!

Nursing bra / Sleep bra
Being relatively ‘well provided for’ in this area sleep bras were pretty much indispensable for me but after giving birth I’m sure this is pretty much the case for everyone. Most suppliers suggest that it’s better to get fitted later on in your pregnancy and then again a couple of days after giving birth because your size will probably change considerably. It might also be worthwhile taking some breast pads and nipple cream in with you.

Food and Drink
As mentioned, my labour in hospital was pretty quick so really had no need for anything other than water. I took a couple of bottles in with me and a pack of straws. I also packed snacks for myself and my husband, I seem to remember including Natures Valley bars, Haribo and a pack of Digestive biscuits. Due to the timing of our labour and birth I missed breakfast and so these were gratefully consumed once our son had safely arrived.

This time I plan on taking the same and also my Britta Fill & Go bottle too.

Other items you might want to consider taking:
• Water spray, face wipes, lip balm & hairbands
• TENS machine if you have decided to use one
• Toiletries & hairbrush – I know many people don’t have the energy to bother showering but it was a massive must for me to feel a little more normal
• A Towel – the hospital ones are not the most luxurious so you might want to take your own (it’s been suggested to me it should be a dark colour)
• A Pillow – especially if you have a particular favourite you can’t sleep without
• Electricals – Camera & Mobile Phone, IPad / IPod (and chargers)
• A book or magazine
• Change for the Car Park
• Change of clothes for birth partner

For Your Baby

Nappies
As with the maternity towels I’m going to take a whole pack but if space is a little tight then take fewer but make sure you have left the rest somewhere obvious at home or in the car so they can be easily grabbed and brought in by a visitor if required.

Wipes
I think many maternity units still prefer you use cotton wool to clean baby with so I will probably take a small pack and I also plan to use Water Wipes. They’re not cheap so I’ll buy a couple of packs and then move on to my preferred brand.

Sleepsuits / Bodysuits / Vests
Twice as many as you think you’ll need. I once heard that trying to dress a teeny baby is like trying to fit an octopus into a sandwich bag so make your life easy and pick outfits that open up down both legs.

Hats
We didn’t worry too much with our August baby but this baby is due February / March so definitely a must.

Blanket
I’ll be packing a thin cotton blanket for in the hospital and also one which fits into the car seat and allows the straps through which ensures your baby is safe and snuggled up warm. The one we have is from a company called Morrck but I think you can now get them from various places.

Car Seat
They won’t let you drive home without one but don’t worry about bringing it into the hospital until you are ready to leave, it will just take up space.

What You REALLY Don’t Need
Hairdryer & Hair Straighteners
Whole Make Up Bag
5 Books
Mini bottle of champagne (yes, seriously)

A couple of links that might help …..

http://www.which.co.uk/birth-choice/articles/hospital-bag-checklist?gclid=Cj0KEQiA5dK0BRCr49qDzILe74UBEiQA_6gA-m_UT43NqdaX2_bBo8mDBCjmLTzcoF3k2r4f-1ViieoaArUM8P8HAQ

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pack-your-bag-for-birth.aspx#close

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/what-to-pack-in-your-hospital-bag

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NHM Interview: Gino D’Acampo

I’m very excited to feature our first interview on NorthHantsMum. I was invited to meet with Gina D’Acampo but unfortunately couldn’t make it due to work commitments (boo hiss!) so I asked my NHM Writers if any of them would like to meet Gino and ask him some questions.

Thank you very much to Karen for her lovely review below (can’t BELIEVE she also got a snog from Gino! lol) and also to everyone who put forward questions for Gino via “Louise nhm Smith“.

NHM Interview: Gino D’Acampo

Gino

Small J and I were very excited when NorthHantsMum asked us to visit Waterstones and interview chef Gino D’Acampo (although I expect Smalls excitement had more to do with the singing train in Festival Place!)

We arrived to find a rather large queue of very excited people all clutching a copy of Gino’s new book ‘Gino’s Islands in the Sun,’ waiting patiently to catch a glimpse of the author.  We hurried to get a copy and waited inside the store in anticipation. Soon word went round that he was here, but lost in the backstage area behind the shops.  Thankfully Gino found his way through the maze and we were lucky enough to have the first opportunity to speak to him and ask him some of your questions

We asked Gino how Italian’s foster a healthy attitude to food in their children. Gino answered that it was easy as that’s how they are born. Italian food is healthy and delicious so it is not difficult to get children to love it. In his book he mentions rules that are taught to Sardinian children including taking a walk and going out and enjoying fresh air whatever the weather which might go some way to explaining why Sardinians have such a long lifespan.

One reader wanted to know who Gino’s food inspiration was. He told us that it was his Grandfather who used to cook him anything and everything Italian. He used fresh simple ingredients to make wonderful Italian dishes. I could understand how that would cause him to fall in love with food.

It’s easy to see where Gino gets some of his rules for life, ‘Celebrate your elders’ and ‘use fresh ingredients where possible.’ I also like the one regarding drinking a glass of red wine daily and the bonus is that he suggests Cannonau, from Sardinia, which contains more antioxidants than any other wine in the world.

Gino’s suggestion for a simple fun Italian recipe to cook with your children was pizza.   In his new book there are 2 pizza ideas, one with courgette ribbons and flowers and one with anchovy, olive and capers.

Gino was kind enough to sign my copy of his new book and I am planning to try out his suggestion of courgette pizza out on Small J soon. Of course he’s going to have to help to cook it.

After being kissed on the cheek (blush) by Gino in front of the whole store he was nice enough to pose for a photo with us. We left him to continue to meet the rest of his fans (and went to visit the singing train….again).

Karen and Small J Johnson

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Review 2015: Elderly Primagravida

Thank you very much to “K” for her Review of Elderly Primagravida in 2015!

Elderly Primagravida and 29 weeks

….a woman who becomes pregnant for the first time after the age of 34/35 (age depends on what website you look at!)

The fact that I actually became pregnant at the age of 38 and is classed as “elderly,” left me a bit miffed to say the least!

However despite this and whether this has been down to my “status”, my pre existing medical conditionals or good luck, I cannot fault the care I have received so far from both my Community Midwife, the Antenatal clinic and the Day Assessment Unit.

I guess I’ve more visits to both the Community Midwife and Antenatal clinic than I the average pregnant lady and each time, I’ve never felt that I’ve been a time waster or a neurotic pregnant lady, quite the opposite and I was reassured that it is ok to worry and best to get things seen to rather than leave them and at any time I have the need to have my worries ironed just call and I will be seen at the Day Assessment Unit at the maternity unit.

I am also under a Consultants Obstetrician, I think because of my “elderly” age and pre existing conditions and again I can’t fault the care I have been given.  The last appointment I attended my Blood Pressure was a little high to say the least, this of course was duly noted and after waiting what seems an age.

I finally saw the Consultant (not the original one as previously but still well informed and very professional), she covered all the normal stuff but was concerned about my BP which was measured a couple more times, it was still high and whilst she was writing up her notes she said she was debating with herself what she should do about this BP.  She came to the decision that I should be admitted, much to me and my partners disappointed. I didn’t have to wait long too be escorted up to the ward where a bed was waiting for me.

Feeling a little unnerved I kind of settled on the bed, while waiting for a Nurse to let me know what was happening.

My Blood pressure was taking a couple of times before I was given a little orange tablet. I was monitored for another hour or so before I was provided with food (a nice surprise seeing as I hadn’t had lunch as I was due to go back to work and it wasnt half bad)

Whilst eating my tea, the Doctor came round and prodded and poke me, asked a few questions and said that my BP had come down a significant amount and she was happy for me to go home….yay!  Feeling relieved we left the Ward….until next and last time ( when we finally get to meet our little man)

I’ve been very fortunate to have had such a good experience with all the Healthcare professionals who have dealt with me and my pregnancy, even if i haven’t/ am not enjoying the whole experience yet/so far but i am sure all the mood swings, tears and tantrums will all be worth it….

Before I sign off I leave you with this… if you are worried at all, no matter how big all small

Keep Calm

And

Call a midwife! 😀

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