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Thursday, 20 July 2017

5 Quick Tips For Health In A Rush

Do you worry that you don’t have much spare time to look after your health? Well, you can get some comfort knowing that you don’t have to have heaps of spare time in order to be healthy. In fact, the following quick tips can help you drastically improve your health even if you are always busy rushing around!






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Take Some Home Tests

When you have a packed schedule, you might find it hard to book a doctor’s appointment. You needn’t worry about that anymore, though, not now you can carry out some home tests at home. All you need to do is order one online and wait for it to arrive. You can get a range of tests, such as a thyroid check or blood test. You take the test, pop your sample in the envelope, and then send it off to the lab. After a day or two, you should have your results. That’s much faster than waiting to see your doctor!

Batch Cook Healthy Meals At The Weekend

Do you find that you eat too many ready meals and other convenience foods because you just don’t have the time or energy to cook? There is one way around that. You need to start batch cooking at the weekends! Batch cooking just means making a big batch of food - it could be a large chili con carne or lasagne. You then just portion it up into meals that you can use throughout the week. Then, if you get back late from the office one night, you just need to reheat one portion of the meal.

Drink Smart

When you are constantly on the go, it is important that you stay as hydrated as possible. This can keep your energy levels high and your mind active. So, it’s a good idea to always carry a bottle of water with you in your handbag. If you would rather not drink out of plastic bottles, there are lots of metal alternatives that can be refilled. See if you can go a week with swapping your coffee for water - you will feel much better once all the caffeine has been flushed out of your system!



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Meditate

Even though there are Buddhist monks out there who can meditate for hours at a time, you only need ten minutes for your daily session. So, you will be able to squeeze in some meditation no matter how busy you are! If you have never meditated below, there are now lots of apps that can help you get a good introduction. Lots of people swear by Head Space, so why not give it a go?!

Get An Early Night

Not getting enough sleep can cause a lot of health issues. For this reason, it’s important you aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Once you start getting enough, you will find that you can enjoy higher energy levels and much better concentration and focus!

There you have it - health doesn’t have to take a long time!
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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Is It Time You Went On A Health Drive?

As the summer holidays approach at lightning speed, it’s common to pay your health a little more attention than usual. For some reason, we tend to be more interested in healthy living when it’s bright and sunny outside. 

Whether you’re keen to look and feel better on the beach or you’ve decided it’s time to put your health first, here are some positive steps you can take this summer.

Exercise more

When the days are long, and it’s not raining cats and dogs, it’s a lot easier to get motivated about exercise than it is on dismal, dull winter days. If you want to be more active and shape up, now is a great time to get into the swing of things, find activities you enjoy, and build up your fitness. 

People tend to have a negative perception of exercise and assume that it involves enduring painful sessions in the gym, but there are myriad different sports and classes you can try. Take some friends along to Zumba, start going for a swim every other day, go jogging or join a local tennis club. 

Exercising isn’t just good for your body. As well as improving your circulation, increasing your strength and endurance and reducing the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, being active will also boost your energy levels, help you sleep and make you feel happier. 

If you have kids, encourage them to get on board too. Go for bike rides at the weekend or take a cricket set to the park. Mess around in the garden with a football or a frisbee or try something new as a family like climbing or canoeing.

Image taken from http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/17368
Banish any niggling doubts

If you’ve been suffering from symptoms, feeling out of sorts or struggling with an old injury, it’s time to stop burying your head in the sand and hoping it will go away. 

Many of us are reluctant to seek help when we don’t feel 100 percent. It’s best to nip any problems in the bud, so call your local surgery or use a service like GP at Hand online and speak to a doctor. 

There’s nothing to be afraid of. Your doctor will ask you some simple questions, and they may recommend tests to rule out underlying issues. If you do need to have treatment, the sooner you start, the better. 

If you’ve been hobbling around or you’ve been feeling anxious, starting treatment will set you on the right track. 

Image credit https://www.pexels.com/search/doctor/
Set goals

If you’re on a health kick, think about what you want to achieve, and set some goals. Do you want to give up smoking? Do you want to learn to dance? Do you dream of being a certain weight or fitting into a dress you used to love wearing? Are you keen to bring your BMI or your blood pressure down? Do you want to complete a 10k run for charity? 

Whatever your inspiration, setting goals is a great thing to do. If you’ve got targets in mind, they can motivate you and make you work that little bit harder. 

Image via https://pixabay.com/en/weight-scale-overweight-underweight-2036970/
If you’re worried about your health or you’re eager to enjoy better health, now is the time to make some changes! Even simple alterations can make all the difference. Good luck!
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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Top 5 Health Priorities To Make For Your Kids

We all know how important good levels of health are, but when it comes to your kids, that level of importance gets kicked up a few notches.



https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-people-girl-grass-129029/

As a parent, we all want the best for our kids. Not only does that mean we do what we can to protect them, comfort them and make sure that they’re happy, but that we want them to be healthy too. However, it’s not always easy to know if you’re doing the right things and making the best decisions for your kids. But if you want to make sure that you’re putting their health first, here are a few priorities to make.

Nutrition

As a parent, we’re programmed to feed out kids when they’re hungry. But, are you more likely to feed them something that they want rather than something that they need? It’s okay if that answer is yes, because we all do it from time to time. However, if you want to make sure that you’re doing the best thing for their health, you’re going to want to make sure you get their nutrition right. This is particularly important when you’re kids are still growing.

Medical Services

Then, you’re also going to want to make sure that you’re kids have the right access to any medical services that they need. Now, the NHS is pretty good for most things, but you may find that you need more. So, you could look into same day access services like the ones that www.samedaydoctor.org provide should you ever need them. That way, you know that you have access to an almost instant medical service for times that you need it.


https://www.pexels.com/photo/bridge-child-children-fashion-191034/

Exercise
Then, you’ve also got their fitness levels to think about. Years ago, kids were always running around - both in school and out of school. But now, things are different. Kids tend to play inside and find themselves attached to a screen more than they do play outside. This means that they are less active than they could be. So, you may want to think about getting them out a bit more, running around with them, or even working on some sports and exercises for them.

Mental Health

This is definitely an area of health that gets overlooked or hushed a lot more than most. But, if you want to raise a healthy child, you need to be able to encourage good mental health in them as www.activebeat.com suggest. As the modern world develops, it’s all too easy to get stressed. But, if you prepare your children early on, they should be better equipped to deal with any mental health issues they’re faced with.

Emotional Wellbeing

And finally, you also have their emotional wellbeing to think about. When your child is unhappy, it can harm their overall health levels. So, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re there for them, and able to nurture them emotionally too. Showing them love and affection and supporting them should be all it takes to make sure that they are emotionally healthy as they grow.
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Monday, 3 July 2017

11 Types Of Hospital Visitor You Really Don't Want

Mum is currently in hospital recovering from a hip operation and, obviously, I am a regular visitor to her ward.

I'm a great people watcher and I have to say that other visitors to the ward provide many hours of speculation and not the odd grimace.

Empty hospital ward
Image Credit
It strikes me that hospital visitors fall into certain types - most of which the hospital staff, let alone their visitors, are probably glad to see troop off at the end of visiting hours.

The "There Ain't No Party Like A Hospital Ward Party" Visitors

You know they've arrived because the ward volume rises dramatically and any poor incumbent trying to nap is instantly awakened to the rustle of carrier bags and the loud dumping of coats and scraping of chairs.

There will be at least 5 of them and they will behave as if they haven't seen each other for at least 10 years.

Their arrival is usually heralded by a helium balloon and a crying child.

Cans will be cracked open and the crisps will do the rounds - irrespective of the fact that their relative isn't eating - or even conscious.

After two hours of reminiscing loudly, the whole ward heaves a sigh of relief when they leave.

The "It May Be Your Bed But I'm Claiming It" Visitors

In they troop, puffing and wheezing from the struggle of using 3 lifts and one flight of stairs and so tired are they, that they plop themselves down on the bed before their relative has had a chance to move their legs.

When reminded gently by the staff that visitors are asked not to sit on patients' beds, they huff indignantly as if they have just hiked up Kilimanjaro.

The "You Just Can't Get The Staff, Can You?"  Visitors

The most mortifying of all visitors are those who somehow think they have been transported to Downton Abbey and should be waited on immediately.  Where's the doctor?  Why is that curtain pulled?  Why are there other sick people in the immediate vicinity.

The "Here,  Let Me Interpret Your Medical Notes For You" Visitors

Yes,  they've watched Holby City and Casualty and the contents of the red file or the clipboard at the end of the bed hold no mystery for them.  Up and down the ward they pace reading the notes as if they're about to proclaim them on stage at The Globe.  Then they will give you their diagnosis. Wrongly.

The "Cheer Up Luv, You'll Probably Be Out Tomorrow" Visitors

There's nothing worse than giving false hope to someone who can't wait to go home.  As a clue, if they are hooked up to a beeping machine, there's a "Nil By Mouth" sign over the bed or they are barely conscious after surgery, they are not going anywhere soon.

The "Cup of Tea And A Biccie Off the Trolley? Don't Mind If I Do" Visitors

This lot ignore the fact that the trolley contents are for patients and happily ask for a tea or coffee plus whatever carbohydrate substance their beady eyes spot.  They then devour these like someone who hasn't eaten for days.

The "I've Known You All My Life But Can't Think Of Anything To Say" Visitors

Practically mute, they shuffle in barely making eye contact, mutter "alright then" and spent the next 90 minutes silently observing their relative.  Duty done,  they shuffle off.

The "I've Bought Your Snacks & Fruit But I'll Eat It For you" Visitors

You can see the patient's eyes light up when their visitors proffer their favourite chocs or even grapes. They then make the key mistake of offering them round and find themselves left with a box full of empty wrappers and some grape pips.

The "You May Be Nil By Mouth But You Wouldn't Want Me To Starve" Visitors

The poor patient is miserably enduring the long wait before their op which is made worse when their tactless visitors crack open cans of coke and chomp through a Mars bar.  Shortly before reading through their medical notes and demanding tea from the staff.

The "Hand Sanitizer Is For Wimps" Visitors

There are signs on every door.  Fully replenished bottles of hand sanitizer waiting to be used.  But these visitors are apparently protected by an invisible force field rendering MRSA and any other germ nasty completely powerless.

Sadly, the rest of the ward's inhabitants don't have this super power.

The "I'm Too Important To EVER Turn My Mobile Off" Visitors

Closely related to those who bray their teatime choices into their mobile phones on packed commuter trains ("I said I want chicken nuggets, not pizza. Back 6:30 have it ready"), or those who don't seem to cope when their phone calls aren't on speaker, this crowd take phone calls whilst ignoring signs asking for mobiles to be switched off.  The whole ward has to listen about Dorothy from accounts' incompetence or when the printer cartridges will be turning up.

Still, just be thankful they don't take the opportunity to take a couple of selfies.

Mum is doing fine and we are looking forward to bringing her home and we have nothing but praise and admiration for the hospital staff who have enough to put up with from their charges, without having to cope with their patients' visitors.

Worth bearing in mind next time you go .....
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Saturday, 1 July 2017

Why There’s Never Been A Better Time To Be A ‘Middle Aged’ Woman.

Good Housekeeping readers may recall a fabulous article in last year’s September edition entitled “Why 60 is the new 40” and in it, Good Housekeeping Science Editor, Vivienne Parry listed a great number of ‘wins’ for women in that age bracket – whilst offering a great deal of optimism and cheer for those of us headed in that direction.

older woman in a sun hat on a beach

She pointed out that today’s 60 year olds:-

* are the first generation to have antibiotics as well as vaccines available to them their whole lives. 

* have been spared the long-term health complications of childhood infections or infectious diseases like rheumatic fever and TB

* have better health than their mothers did at the same age with many looking comparatively younger

* enjoy better dental health due to reduced tooth loss from tooth decay - largely thanks to fluoride toothpaste, which became available from the late 1950s.

* enjoy better heart health.  Heart attacks in women halved between 2002 and 2010 with the greatest decline seen in 65-74 year olds.

A reduction in smoking, improvements in air quality, better food and the use of statins are likely contributory factors to this.

*are living longer with diseases such as breast cancer. Nearly 8 out of 10 women survive 10 years or more compared with the 1970s. Stomach cancer cases have fallen 62% in the last 40 years and ovarian cancer in the over 60 age group has fallen by nearly 25% (use of the contraceptive pill has contributed to this).  Cervical screening has seen an 81% reduction in the incidence of cervical cancer in women aged 50-64.

*are included in clinical trials where as in years gone by, these trials only involved men.

Incredible isn’t it?  Despite the gloom that we may naturally feel as our birthdays start to stack up, there is so much to be positive and hopeful about.

None of this, however, is an excuse to rest on our laurels and in order to continue to enjoy vibrant health long term, there are some simple changes we can all make to our lifestyle.

Here’s your later life health primer.

Eat less

The popularity of the 5:2 Diet seems to back up American research that fasting on alternative days boosts the genes related to anti- ageing.  A two year study found that cutting calories to 75% of your normal intake lowered blood pressure cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Choose healthy fats

Eating monounsaturated fats (for example those found in avocado and olive oil), has been shown to raise levels of ‘good’ cholesterol – HDL whilst lowering levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL.  We know we should avoid saturated fats.

Eat less refined sugar

Did you know that if you eat too much refined sugar, it can attach itself to your skin’s collagen and elastin fibres.  This affects their ability to regenerate and can eventually cause deep wrinkles.

Drink more water

Our ageing bodies don’t retain water the way they should.  An easy way to up your water intake is to make sure you have a sports bottle of water with you at all times to keep you cool, mentally alert and, studies show, to prevent heart disease.

Cut back on alcohol

Some of the heaviest drinkers are, surprisingly, in my age group but we know that our health will improve if we don’t exceed the Government’s guidelines of 14 units a week on a regular basis. The current medical advice is that we should also make sure that we have two days off a week from alcohol.

Take a daily walk

Just a 30 minute walk a day will show benefits in blood flow strength, balance and stamina. Exercise will also help prevent diabetes and keep your bones strong, thus reducing your risk of a fall.

Get enough sleep

The growth hormones promoting cell repair peak at the deepest stage of the sleep cycle so you need to make sure you are getting your full 8 hours to give your skin’s repair systems a chance to recover.

Check your Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels

Did you know that low levels of vitamin B12 can cause hair to grey prematurely? Lack of B12 is also indicated in muscle weakness, fatigue and memory problems. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to a range of health conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis and lots of us are deficient in Vitamin D, especially during the winter.  Try to top up your levels daily by 15 minutes in the sun and when you can't do that, take a supplement instead.

Destress

It will come as no surprise to learn that chronic stress is incredibly ageing.  Research has discovered that a high stress lifestyle increases your risk of diseases such as Parkinsons, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease so try to find something that calms and destresses.

I have written before about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness which have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and those who practise these disciplines regularly have been found to have longer telomeres.  These are the protective caps on the end of chromosomes and having longer telomeres have been linked to longer life.

Have more sex

Studies into the sex lives of middle aged men and women have discovered that regular sex can make you look seven years younger.  That's better than any face cream!

I turned 53 at the end of May this year and I'm heartened that, with a bit of positivity, and positive action, there is no reason why the forthcoming decades need mean a decline or any kind of lessening of looks, strength and joie de vivre.
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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Problem Page Edition 26 2017

This week - when he loved hearing your voice but doesn't call for 2 days and when your mother suggests your sister is mistreating your kids in your absence.

The word love spelled out in wooden blocks

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week's questions.

QHe says he is fond of me.  What does that mean?

A: It probably means that whilst he likes you as a person and even has a certain amount of affection for you, he doesn’t see you as a romantic partner.

It’s the kind of thing we say so as not to hurt someone’s feelings.

Without knowing your exact circumstances, of course, it’s difficult to be precise, but ‘fond’ is the kind of word we use for friends, other people’s children and pets.

I hope you are not about to have your romantic hopes dashed.

The only way to find out for sure is to ask him what exactly he means by ‘fond’. I suspect you can tell whether he fancies you or not by his body language and whether he is always trying to spend time with you.

We might be ‘fond’ of someone but it usually doesn’t mean we’re pulling out all the stops to spend time with them.


Q: Why would your boyfriend just leave you without any reason?

A: He wouldn’t. There’s always a reason and if you have been in a relationship for a decent amount of time you are quite entitled to ask why.

If you are very young though, romantic feelings come and go without any particular reason, or because someone else seems more appealing.

Leaving without any explanation is pretty immature.

I would start asking what is up with him and if you are no longer in contact then I’m afraid you’ll just have to chalk it up to experience.


Q: How do I show my mum that respect and obedience are two different things? I want her to know that even if I can't obey her on some stuff, I still respect her and hold her in high esteem.

A: I can hear mothers all over the country gritting their teeth at your question. If your mum asks you to do something - and it’s reasonable, like put your clothes away, get to college on time, tidy your room, doing what she asks is a mark of respect.

It’s not a question of obedience. It’s a question of pulling your weight whilst you still live at home whilst acknowledging that her (and your family’s) hard work is keeping a roof over your head.

The best way to show respect is to help out. If my kids told me they respected me but weren’t going to ‘obey’ me, the WiFi password would mysteriously change over night and all pocket money would be stopped until they understood the basics of team work.

Buy your mum a huge bunch of flowers and give her a hand. She’s the only mum you’ll get.


Q: What are his intentions? We talk every day long distance. I sense he cares about me and obviously he likes me a lot since he bothered to keep in contact.

A: Let’s be honest. With email and social media, it is easy to keep in contact. Just a touch of a button and absolutely no effort required.

You’ll be able to gauge his intentions when he starts making some effort to come to see you or to plan a get-together - anything which involves actual PHYSICAL contact.

Until that time, it’s all ‘pie in the sky’.

From your question it sounds like you hardly know this man at all and, without more info about your situation it’s difficult to be precise but I think you need to know a lot more about this man before you build a romantic fantasy which might have absolutely no basis in reality.

Far better to concentrate on a nice guy who lives just around the corner.

Q: What should I do when a well-known girl proposes to me, but I am in love with another girl but it's one-sided?

A: Isn’t it obvious? Say no. Why would you want to break her heart and live a lie?

It may be that you are expected by friends and family or your culture to get married and settle down and I appreciate it may not be so easy to extricate yourself.

But if you do have any say in the matter whatsoever, your answer should be no and you would do better to forget the other girl you love and seek out a partner you do love and who you can be with.

Q: What would you do if your mum told you in confidence that your sister threw your 2 y/o son onto a couch in anger and then said she was just kidding?
I also witnessed her yell at my son unnecessarily & felt like she has anger issues. My son is 2 y/o, he has a twin brother and 4-year-old sister. I find her behaviour odd. She only sees them a handful of times out of the year. My mum said he was whining a little, she wasn't joking & she overreacted.
A: You need to say something to your sister to set some boundaries and expectations for how you expect her to treat her nephews and niece.

It doesn’t matter if she has ‘anger issues’ - that sounds like an excuse to me. As adults, most of us can control our temper and our behaviour - especially around children.

I would tell her you are concerned that she has problems keeping her temper around your kids and ask what it is that is bugging her.

Incidentally, where were you when all this was going on? Are you relying on your mum and sister for childcare - have they agreed to this or is there a chance you might be putting on them slightly?

Sometimes it’s easy to expect our relatives to put up with our kids just because they are our relatives - but they don’t always want to and it isn’t always fair to do that.

Even if your kids are just normal, boisterous toddlers, they can still be difficult to deal with. My two were far from little angels!

I think you need to sort out childcare and, at least for the time being, make sure you are present when your sister visits. It’s unfair on your mum to expect her to play judge and jury between her daughters.

If your sister DID throw your little one onto the couch then that is not acceptable behaviour and you need to ensure he’s not left in that situation again.

By the sound of it, your mum is trying to give you a gentle heads up that your sister can’t cope and you need to step in and care for your kids when she’s there.

Q: What does it mean if a man says he enjoyed hearing your voice but then doesn't call for two days?

I always thought when someone says that over that phone that means they miss you. But wouldn't they want to hear more of the voice and call the following day as well? It's been 2 days.what does it mean and what should I do? Should I show him I am upset that I didn't hear from him for that long?

A: I think you need to take a deep breath and step back a little here.

I think saying “I enjoyed hearing your voice” is a bit of an odd thing to say, to be honest. Do you meet this man? Do you know him well?

Don’t you think if he missed you he would want to see you IN PERSON?

2 days is nothing at all. People still have lives, responsibilities and commitments you know, even when they are dating.

I think you run the risk of appearing way too keen and I absolutely would not hound the man to show him you are ‘upset’.

Far better to show him you have a life of your own and are not a doormat waiting by the phone, surely?

This man doesn’t sound particularly keen to me I’m afraid and in your shoes, I would keep my dignity and take the view that if he’s interested he’ll call and if not, well, there’s someone far better out there.
How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page
Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Why You Shouldn't Be Happy If Your Child Has A Suntan

After the recent heatwave in which the UK experienced the hottest June day since the summer of 1976, NHS England and the Met Office are reminding parents that a suntan is a sign of sun damage.

children playing in the sea


And a recent survey of 1000 parents with children under 11 suggests that a third of parents still believe going brown is good for children. Presumably, the same people who think slathering themselves in SPF 2 and stripping off as soon as the clouds part is a good idea.

A quarter has even encouraged their children to tan and, worse, a few have even allowed them to use sunbeds.

More than one in five (21%) of the parents questioned said they would only think about applying sunscreen if their child started to go red and burn.

Yes, it seems we still have an awful lot to learn about protecting ourselves against the damage the sun can do to our health, in particular, skin cancer.

A tan won't stop the sun's rays from causing harm and is our skin's way of saying it's damaged and is trying to protect itself.

It doesn't even have to be warm. Since you can't feel UV radiation, you can even get sunburnt on a cloudy day. The Met Office says that UV levels are usually highest between May and September and you can check the UV forecast on the Met Office website or app.

You know all those greyer, chillier summer mornings when you wonder whether you should slather sun cream on the kids before they go to school - well, you should.  

We now know that repeated sun exposure can lead to skin cancer in later life.  Caitlin and Ieuan's grandad has had at least 3 cancerous moles removed, most likely due to the (typically male) insistence that they don't need sun cream.

It was in 1920's that having a tan became a sign of wealth and influence because it meant you could travel to warmer climes. Tanning was allegedly made popular by the French fashion designer Coco Chanel. 

Prior to that, it was a sign of being lower class as you were most likely a labourer or worked on the land in the heat of the sun.  A status symbol having a tan in past times was certainly not.

Funny how perceptions change, isn't it?

So how should we be protecting our kids (and ourselves!) in the sun?

The basic advice is this:-

Infants under 6 months old should be kept OUT of direct strong sunlight.

From March to October in the UK children should cover up and spend time in the shade particularly from 11:00 am to 15:00 pm.

(I still find it gob-smacking that some school trips are organised for the beach at the hottest time of the day).  

Kids should wear at least SPF15 sunscreen - mine get covered in SPF30 minimum. Face, ears, back of the neck, nape of the neck, arms and legs if they're off to school.

Yes, it adds a good extra 10 minutes to the morning routine but it's too important to miss.

Mine also wear sun hats and some of the best hats have a flap at the back of the neck to protect the delicate skin there.

Everyone should drink plenty of water to keep hydrated - that's water not fizzy, sugary drinks.

You've probably heard, conversely, that we need some exposure to the sun to boost our Vitamin D levels but, according to Dr Nigel Acheson from NHS England, the recommendation is "that people spend no longer than 10 to 15 minutes in the UK summer sun, unprotected, several times a week".

When that time is up you should apply sun protection.

A very handy mantra to use is 'slip, slop, slap' - originally from the anti-skin cancer campaign in Australia in the 80's featuring Sid The Seagull and recently updated.

Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.

Slop on SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours when outdoors or more often if perspiring or swimming.

Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.

Seek shade.

Slide on sunglasses.

Wise advice for all ages.  
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Monday, 26 June 2017

Average Adult Glugs Down Five & A Half Baths Full Of COOKING OIL In Their Lifetime


Yes - revolting statistic of the day which makes you stop and think "what on earth am I putting in my body" because I think, for lots of us, our eating habits occur on autopilot.

Salad platter with spring onions, tomatoes and a glass container of oil


Research by Frylight, the low calorie cooking oil spray beloved of Slimming World fans indeed suggests that the average adult will glug down the equivalent of five and a half baths full of cooking oil in their lifetime.

That equates to six and a half litres or, for those of us (me!) who haven't gone metric, 11 pints of cooking oil per person every year - based on a study of 2000 adults.

That's 57,500 calories – equivalent to 320 bags of crisps per year or five and a half bathtubs worth of oil over a lifetime.

But despite this, the survey found just seven per cent of the population believe they are consuming too much oil, even though less than five tablespoons of oil equates to a woman’s entirely daily fat allowance.

Priya Tew, dietician at Frylight, which commissioned the study, said: "Oils have long been high on the food trends agenda, with coconut and olive oils often a talking point in press and on social media.

“So, it’s worrying that people are so in the dark when it comes to the level of fat and calories that oil can add.

“Fat is something our bodies need, but we don’t need a large amount of it.

“And while many cooking oils can offer health benefits when used in the right quantities, it’s important to manage the amount consumed.”

With the typical adult using two tablespoons of oil three and half times a week, the survey reveals a worrying lack of knowledge about the pros and cons of cooking with oil.

For instance, nearly 40 percent of people make no effort to avoid saturated fats which can increase cholesterol - carrying a risk of heart disease.

More concerning is one in ten people believe that trans fats are actually healthier than other types of fats. In fact, trans fats (generated by industrial processing) are considered the worst offenders by nutritionists and dieticians.

Both trans and saturated fats can increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood – trans fats have also been shown to lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

Conversely, one in five people aren’t aware that fats can have some health-giving properties, such as vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Surely we all knew about trans fats - didn't we?  

But it seems even coconut oil, widely regarded as a cross between a super food and a multi-purpose beauty product, has also come in for some criticism because of the amount of saturated fat coconut oil contains - largely via a study which is rumoured to have been funded by 'Big Pharma' it must be said.

It's difficult to know who to trust, isn't it?  I would feel a lot more comfortable accepting the results of these studies if they weren't commissioned by firms and organisations with a vested interest in seeing a particular result one way or the other.

I doubt we'll see an independent 'coconut oil think tank' anytime soon though.

In the meantime, reducing saturated fat is, according to the NHS the way to go.
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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Problem Page Edition 25 2017

This week - when your precocious 5 year old wants to be a celebrity YouTuber, when you expect all your romances to be like Disney and when you fall for someone with a 'horrible and shady' past.

man alone about to enter the sea at the beach

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week's questions.

QMy daughter is five & wants a YouTube channel; she says she wants to be a star. I think that five is definitely too young for that. What should I do?

A: Who is the parent here? Are you really taking instruction from a 5 year old? You are fully aware, I’m sure, of the risks exposing such a young child on the internet.

As a parenting blogger I write about my children and they occasionally appear on a short video which is uploaded to YouTube but it is MY channel and I carefully monitor what appears - obviously nothing suggestive and no nudity.

You have to be really careful these days.

Explain to your daughter that stars have to work hard to be discovered and they very often have talents other than singing, dancing or pretending to be a beauty queen.

In any case, I’m pretty sure YouTube’s community standards would be firmly against a 5 year old having their own channel. The minimum age for other socal media is around the 13 year old mark.

Time for you to put your foot down.

If you really think your child is a budding talent (and EVERY parent thinks that about their kids), then perhaps look in to modelling agencies or similar but I think you have to ask yourself who really wants your daughter to be a star? Is it possible that it’s really you?


Q: How do I apologize to a female friend for accusing her of cheating in a test?

A: Did you accuse her in private or did you denounce her as a cheat in front of a crowd of her friends.

Hopefully, you were relatively subtle about it in which case you should just say ‘sorry, the stress of the test got to me. I was an idiot, sorry for doubting you’.

If you have accused her publicly then you might have a bit more work to do - starting off with publicly apologising in front of the same crowd.

I’m curious though, what made you think she was cheating? And are you sure she definitely didn’t? If she’s mad at you then apologise but if she is quite quiet about it, I would be tempted to draw a veil over the whole incident and just move on without referring to it again.


Q: How can I emotionally break my childish Disney-esque romanticized view of true love & soul mates?

I understand, logically, that there are many compatible partners for me in the world. But, emotionally, when I meet someone, I long for the romanticized instant soul mate connection you only see in films and books. Then I unconsciously ruin what could be a great real connection with someone new.

A: Whilst you might not be hit by a ‘bolt from the blue’ when you meet the right person, very often I think things just ‘feel right’ if that person is for you.

So, whilst I agree that Disney has a lot to answer for in terms of its romantic notions of love, the world we currently live in can be so dull, so grey, so unpleasant that I don’t think holding on to that dream is so bad you know.

What you shouldn’t let yourself do is judge others too harshly, or dismiss them out of hand before you have got to know them, or given them a chance.

That’s not what happened in Beauty and the Beast, is it, after all.

I don’t think you are ‘unconsciously’ ruining things. I get the sense that, at present, you aren’t all that interested in being in a real relationship.


Q: What does it mean when your ex-girlfriend has a new boyfriend but doesn't delete your photos?

A: You have been a part of her life so why should she erase her history? I know that it may hurt but deleting your photos would make her look mean and spiteful, particularly on social media.

It may be there she still harbours some feelings for you but if she seems loved up with her new boyfriend it seems unlikely.

If I were you I’d stop looking at her social media accounts and concentrate on your life - and finding someone new to love.

Q: If he hasn't texted me in two weeks but is still liking my Instagram pictures, is he just playing with me?

We texted everyday for about a month and then in the middle of a conversation he just read it and stopped replying. This was 2 weeks ago now. There has been no further contact but he continues to like my Instagram pictures.

A: I never understand why people think texting and liking photos on Instagram is a real relationship.

The only way you will find out what is going on is to SPEAK to him.

If he hasn’t texted you in two weeks he doesn’t sound desperately interested and might just be liking your Instagram pictures to tease you or because he’s genuinely interested in your photos.

But really, in terms of a relationship it sounds as if he is wasting your time.

What was in that text that he didn’t reply to? Are you sure there isn’t another reason why he’s stopped texting.

Time to get on the phone to find out once and for all.
Q: Is it possible to get over someone for one month?
There is a guy who had a strong feelings for me at least 1 month ago. Now he acts like he doesn't care anymore and like I don't exist. How can I know if he is pretending or if he has really forgotten me? But if he has, is it possible to get over someone so fast?
A: Is it possible that you misinterpreted his feelings for you? Have you confused friendship for romantic interest? 
Sometimes it’s easy enough to do when we are not feeling very confident about ourselves. We read so much more into an innocent smile or gesture.
How do you know he had strong feelings for you? It does seem odd that he could have had a complete change of heart in just a month.

I can’t see why he would be pretending and although I don’t think he has forgotten you, it sounds like he is not interested in a relationship.

Rather than chase after him, your best bet is to quietly get on with your life with dignity and grace. If he’s interested he’ll soon come running - and then you will need to think very carefully about what he needs to do to earn your trust.

Because, if he has truly dumped you after only a month, he has quite a few bridges to build.

Q: If I’m falling for a woman with a horrible and shady past, should I even be thinking about that?

A: It depends what’s in her ‘horrible and shady past’.

If she’s a criminal, possibly not. If you are judging her for having had, for example, a lot of sexual partners, then that’s a different issue. Only you know what your definition of a horrible and shady past is!

It sounds like there is a complete mismatch of morals and values here though which doesn’t bode well for the relationship.

I would steer clear.


How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 
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Win Summertime Natural Healthcare Essentials From Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury

There are lots of common health conditions that can pop up unwanted and ruin your summer fun, but from sunburn, to tummy bugs, skin irritations and travel sickness, Mother Nature has a cure for everything.

Women on the beach at an art festival

Taking a natural approach to your health during the summer means you can reduced unwanted side effects, feel empowered and treat your body and your environment with the gentle kindness it deserves. 

I've recently discovered Indigo Herbs, based in one of my favourite places, Glastonbury. They offer a wide range of premium quality nutritionally rich organic superfoods, herbal powders, aromatherapy oils and loose herbal teas - all ethically and sustainably sourced.

Here are just some of their products worth adding to your summer medicine chest - and read on because you can win the lot, worth over £25.

Organic Spirulina Tablets x 100 £4.99 – COMPLETE MULTI VITAMIN & MINERAL ALL ROUNDER

Blue-green edible algae Spirulina is packed with complete nutrition covering all the essential amino acids, all the B vitamins and anti-oxidants and it is also detoxifying. These tablets can work wonders to prevent ill health along your travels and keep you on top form. They are also great for lining the digestive tract and alkalising the whole system so are also helpful at guarding against holiday tummy.

Organic Coconut Oil 500ml £7.99 – SUMMER SKIN & HAIR CARE 

This 100% pure cold pressed oil is not only the best oil to cook with in the kitchen but it’s also a precious ingredient for hair and skin care. It’s naturally anti-bacterial so can aid the healing of any skin sore or wound. It can also be very protective against sun damage for the hair and skin, and it has achieved popularity as an oral hygiene agent by the method of oil pulling. It’s well worth having a jar of this around to take care of your natural health needs. 

Tea Tree Oil 10ml £3.99 – ANTI-BACTERIAL 

This essential oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and this makes it a No 1 first aid kit must have. It can be used in place of an anti-bacterial agent for cuts, sores, fungal infections and more. Can be used when needed.

Lavender Oil 10ml £4.99 – HEALING SUNBURN 

This essential oil is a No 1 healer for burns, including sunburn. It is also extremely calming and can aid a good night’s sleep or help control anxiety. Again this little oil is a must for the first aid kit. Can be used when needed.

Peppermint Oil 10ml £4.49 – CALMING TO NAUSEA 

This essential oil is very good for calming nausea and indigestion. It can be used to relieve travel sickness. A third must have for the first aid kit both at home and when travelling. Can be used when needed.

You can find more on the Indigo Herbs website where you'll find a natural health guide, healthy recipes and even a directory of alternative therapy practitioners.

Indigo Herbs Summer Healthcare Essentials giveaway bundle
Indigo Herbs Summer Healthcare Essentials Prize Bundle

Entry to the giveaway is via the Rafflecopter widget and the usual terms and conditions apply, which you can find on my competitions page.  UK entrants only.  

The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 16th July.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Problem Page Edition 24 2017

This week - when you call your girlfriend 'Ducky' and she hates it, you call your baby 'Peekaboo' and everyone hates it, and you wonder if you'll ever be happy.


Two hands reaching out for one another

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week's questions.

Q: How should I respond to people who criticize me for naming my child Peekaboo?

My wife and I had a son about 3 months ago. We agreed that Peekaboo would be a cute baby name, so that is what we named him. Ever since then, people have been calling us bad parents and various other things. I don’t feel that it is any of their business what we name our child.

A: I sympathise. To a point.


Whilst you are right and it is your and your wife’s business what name you give your son, many people would think that this name may lead your child to be teased or worse, ridiculed, when they get to school.
What is cute for a toddler, is less funny in high school - or in a work environment.
That’s what people are gently trying to tell you.
Why don’t you give your son a more traditional name and keep Peekaboo as a nickname?

Q: Is it unfair to let your son's girlfriend sleep over but not let your daughter's boyfriend sleep over?

I am not the parent in this situation but the daughter. However, my brother is also a few years older than me (I'm 19) if that makes any difference. My parents don't even allow my boyfriend in my bedroom at all. I figured it's because I'm the youngest and a girl.

A: It may be 2017 but very often girls and boys are treated differently so yes, I suspect it is precisely because you are the girl and the youngest - although at 19 not so young.
To be frank, if I were your parents, I wouldn’t let either of you have boyfriends and girlfriends sleep over but every parent is different.
You could try discussing this with your parents but I suspect they are not likely to change their views on this, unfair as it may seem.
Why does your boyfriend need to sleep over though? I am assuming you are not allowed to sleep over at his either?
Is it actually your boyfriend your parents object to? How do they get on with him? Is he polite and respectful to them?
I think in this case you are going to have to wait until you move out to be with your boyfriend.
The only other suggestion I have is to get your brother on side and see if he will plead your case for you.
Q: I put a cotton bud too deep into my ear and now I can't hear anything on that side of my ear and it hurts.  What can I do to heal it?

A: I’m sure you know this by now but do NOT put cotton buds into your ear. There’s a saying - don’t stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow because, as you have found out, you can damage your ear.


It sounds as if you have either pushed wax so far down into your ear it has become impacted and is affecting your hearing or that you have perforated your eardrum.
Please go and see your doctor to find out which one it is as soon as possible - particularly since you are in pain.
Don’t put anything else in your ear until you have been examined.
I hope all is OK. Try not to worry too much. I’m sure it will heal.

Q: Am I the bad guy for breaking off a relationship when the other person really wants to work it out?

I broke off a relationship over 9 months ago. The person since has tried really hard for things to work out but ultimately failed to meet my needs. I've made it clear in What I need out of the relationship and he has done everything but.

A: No of course you’re not. Actually if your ex has been trying to get back with you for over 9 months, I think you probably should have stood a little firmer to be fairer to them - and to you.


I always think that whilst, on paper, it’s a good thing to discuss what you ‘need out of a relationship’, relationships don’t really work like that. 
Generally they work or they don’t and when you get to the negotiation stage (I’ll love you more if you do this or that), really they are already past their sell by date.
I think you need to be clear to him and firmly say that it is not working, it’s still over, then cease contact and move on - at least until your ex has got used to the fact that it IS over.
But if you’re waiting for them to suddenly change to conform to meet your requirements, I suspect after 9 months it’s not going to happen.

Q: Is it wrong to say good morning and goodnight to a female friend if I'm in a relationship? I've been doing this since before I started dating.

I also gave the friend the nickname Ducky (in her class they have a name for things or people that they bounce ideas off of. Rubber Duckys and since I ask her opinion sometimes we settled on that.) My girlfriend is not happy about the nickname given to this friend.

A: It’s not a question of whether it’s wrong. It’s a question of whether it’s irritating your girlfriend and, by the sound of it, it is.

Whilst saying good morning and good night is, to some, rather sweet, I can see that it could also be seen as a tad obsessive - or even as if you are keeping tabs on her.

As for the nickname, I can quite see why she hates it. Can’t you see that there are other connotations with the word ‘Rubber’? Whilst it might be funny in class, outside of that, I’m sure she doesn’t want to be addressed as a school pupil.

Can’t you come up with something more romantic, or flattering?
If you want to keep this relationship going, I suspect you are going to have to start focusing on what she wants, rather than what you have been doing for ages without any thought to the consequences.

Q: I just did a pregnancy test at home 7 days before my period and came out negative; are the results accurate?

A: Is this because you have had unprotected sex and are worried? Or because you are planning to conceive? Either way you really need to wait until you miss a period.

Over the counter pregnancy tests are generally over 99% accurate.

If your period turns up, then you most likely are not.

If your period doesn’t turn up but you get a light spotting (known as implantation bleeding) then you may well be.

But if you have just had unprotected sex and are hoping for an immediate result, then you are going to have to wait.

Either way, it would be a good idea to contact your doctor to discuss contraception or (and I hope it’s good news for you), your pregnancy.


Q: Why don’t I care about anything?

There's nothing to live for, no relationships, happiness, passion, success etc. Nothing really matters to me, I often think about sabotaging everything or cut off everyone and restart my life.

A: Please go and see your doctor because what you describe are classic symptoms of depression.
Do you have close family or friends you can confide in who could support you and even come with you to the doctor?

Hard though it seems you need to take some positive action and the doctor will probably prescribe some anti-depressants which should make you feel more like your old self again.

You don’t have to take them for ever - just to get you through this dark period.

Rest assured that many, many people feel just the way you do and fight what is known as the ‘black dog’ but they manage to overcome it and lead happy productive lives with help and support.

Whilst all you want to do is shut the doors and keep everyone away, the only solution to the way you are feeling is reaching out.

The first step will be the hardest but you will feel glad you did in time.


How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Problem Page Edition 23 2017

This week - when that ex gets back in touch, when he won't speak to you for a week after an argument and the lure of the 'older woman'.


Urban mural of a sailor kissing a girl

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week's questions.

Q:Is it okay for my boyfriend to move to another part of the country in order to work for his ex-girlfriend, and live in her house alone with her during the project?

A: In your shoes I think alarm bells would be ringing extremely loudly. To be frank it sounds like he is off to move in with her.

What is this ‘project’ and if it’s work why does he need to share her house? I’m assuming it’s a question of money but it does sound rather odd.

Is this a permanent job or a temporary one? Does he have any other job opportunities closer to home?

Surely the cost of moving to a different part of the country might outweigh any money he’ll make from working with his ex if it’s a short term project?

I think there are lots of questions you should be asking rather than just putting up with it.

Has he said anything about commitment to your relationship? Has he reassured you that he loves you, wants to be with you and that he’ll be back?

Has he talked about how you’ll stay in touch? Daily phone calls, Skyping? Facetime

If he hasn’t said any of this then I think you need to start asking - and if you don’t get the answers you are looking for, I would tell him you are not promising to be there if he decides to return.


Q: How do you stop thinking about someone you might never see again?

A: By allowing yourself to think about them until you get bored. That doesn’t sound very helpful does it but the more you try NOT to think of something the more you will find you do. If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant, as the popular saying goes, I bet you will think about a pink elephant.

If this person is already out of your life then allow yourself a bit of time to grieve and wallow. Get it all out of your system and then gradually you may find that your memories don’t hurt quite as much and you can put them away from time to time to concentrate on happiness in the here and now.

Or you could try allocating a certain amount of time to think about them - give yourself half an hour to really wallow and then say - right - that’s enough of that and go on with your day.

I am assuming you have done what you can to keep in touch with them - social media, Skype etc but if your situation involves someone about to pass away I am really sorry.

It also sounds like you need to unburden yourself to a good friend or family member - or even a professional.

Q: I haven't heard from my boyfriend since we had an argument (a week ago). He keeps ignoring me, it hurts so bad. What should I do?

We had this “big” fight over texts (it sucks, we don't talk much on the phone), he told me to change and grow up. Then I tried to get in touch, he would almost never reply, not even to calls. Then I stopped. That was some days ago. I'm starting to think he doesn't care about me anymore.

A: I’m wondering what the argument ‘about texts’ was. Has he been receiving texts from other women? Do you insist on reading his texts?

It sounds to me as if, I’m afraid, he has something to hide. Was the relationship going well previously? Sometimes gutless partners will start a big fight as an ‘excuse’ to split up because they aren’t brave enough to be honest.

To ignore you for a week is really immature and he’s either game playing and a bit of a control freak or it sounds as if something else is going on.

I know this is not what you want to hear but your best strategy in this situation is to stop chasing because if he is interested he will be back.

If he hasn’t got in touch in another week, I think you have to assume it’s over - but at least you’ll be rid of someone who doesn’t sound very nice.

If you do have issues with jealousy though and you constantly need to check up on your partner’s behaviour then that is something you will need to work through because it will drive future partners away if you don’t keep it in check.


Q: Is it becoming more acceptable these days for men to be attracted to women older than themselves?

I’m not being funny,But in a way it’s better for men to be attracted to mature women they have more likely to have more in common with a woman older than themselves since they been around a lot longer they have more knowledge.

A: Well yes, but it doesn’t really work like that, does it. There are no rules to attraction and no mathematical or logical formulae for it.

And whilst I wholeheartedly applaud your recognition that older women can be just as sexy and interesting as younger ones, unfortunately I still don’t think you can apply a blanket generalisation that older equals wiser.

Because it doesn’t, often.

The other bigger issue with relationships with older women is that their childbearing years won’t be as great - and I say that as someone who had her kids in her forties.

That’s not a reason to not date an older woman of course but all I’m saying is that life is often more complicated than we want it to be.

If children aren’t an issue then it’s the woman who matters - not her age.

Q: How can I forgive him when he's cheated on me more than twice?

A: In your shoes, to be perfectly frank, I wouldn’t.

I can understand that you may be desperate to keep him but a relationship is a two way thing and it doesn’t sound like he is committed to you.

If he’s cheated more than twice and got away with it, why would he stop now? Sadly, sometimes our forgiveness is read as permission to carry on regardless.

Only you can decide if you want to put up with this and, frankly, there is little point in forgiving him unless he is committed to changing his ways.

That is the conversation you need to have with him but be aware that ultimatums rarely work.

I would accept that the relationship is effectively over and find someone who treats you with respect, kindness and love.

You really don’t need to be a doormat you know - that’s not love in anybody’s book.
Q: He told me he liked me. We’ve known each other for 6 yrs, but only gotten quite close as of last year. I don’t know if I actually like him back?A: It sounds like you are very unsure and I would listen to your gut instinct on this one.

If you truly were interested in him romantically, I don’t think there would be any doubt in your mind.

If this doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

I would also be wondering why it’s taken 6 years to decide to ask you out.

Without knowing your situation it’s hard to comment further but I suspect there is something else going on with him unless he has just had a romantic awakening - which, though not impossible, would be unlikely after all this time.

Q: What does it mean when an ex contacts you and wants to start getting together again "just as friends" because she misses the friendship?

A: Well there are two possibilities here.

Firstly, that may be exactly what she wants - to renew a friendship.

Secondly, she may be angling to come back and is using the ‘just as friends’ line to test your reaction. She might also be hoping that renewing your friendship will lead to a renewal of your past relationship.

Only you know her well enough to decide which one it is.

Some people can be entirely mature with their exes and see no reason why a friendship shouldn’t resume after all the heartache has passed by.

Others prefer not to look back because if a relationship didn’t work then, it is unlikely to work now.

Again, only you know whether you are comfortable having her back in your life as a friend, or whether this will open up a painful situation again.


How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 
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Friday, 2 June 2017

Review & Giveaway: It's Not You, It's Your Hormones By Nicki Williams

Having celebrated my 53rd birthday on Sunday, I can tell you that the last year has been somewhat of a rickety ride, healthwise.

Image credit: By Monik Markus (Flickr: Wet Hair Strands Face Turned) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Yet I couldn't tell you precisely what is wrong.  I am obviously in the 'menopausal ballpark' and a recent blood test indicated that I had arrived with all flags flying. I already have a dodgy thyroid which has given me all sorts of strange symptoms but recently I have found myself sporting a middle tyre which won't shift.  

My sleep pattern has also changed.  I regularly see 3 am, 4 am, 5 am and wake up fully alert whereas in the past I could just turn over and go back to sleep.  I find myself mulling over all sorts of oddities, making lists, worrying about minutiae and generally being neurotic.

And let's not talk about mood swings.  Up one minute, down the next and although I've never been a particularly patient person, nowadays I don't want to wait for anything.

It's timely then that I've come across a brilliant book by nutritional therapist Nicki Williams DipION, mBANT, CNHC, called "It's Not You, It's Your Hormones" which explains clearly and concisely what your hormones are, what they do and how to regain some sort of balance lest you think you are going to become a kind of mumbling wild woman beset with skin breakouts and a temperature that would warp metal. 

I'm exaggerating.  A little.

And lest you think Nicki's book is solely for those of us approaching or embracing menopause, it is targeted at women over 40 who may have peri-menopausal symptoms which make their life equally miserable.



What I particularly like about Nicki's book is that she makes you think about WHY you want to improve your hormonal balance and the cost of just putting up with it.

Nicki's own moment of clarity was when her daughter called her a grumpy mum (a daily occurence in this house) and she felt that that's not who she was.

This, I think, must resonate greatly with lots of us going through a state of hormonal chaos because we don't really understand what is happening to us, nor who we have become, or are becoming.

With total honesty I have to say that when I am under the cosh of the latest barrage or irrational, hormonally charged behaviour, I don't like myself very much - and that in itself is a source of great fatigue and not a great place to be when you already suffer from depression.

Says Nicki:  “As I researched more into this topic, I was shocked at just how many issues can be traced back to easily-fixable hormone imbalances. The truth is that for many women their hormones are in control of them after the age of 40, and the weight, mood and energy problems creep in. By regaining control through diet, lifestyle and natural supplements, women can get back to their best – slimmer, energised and in full control of their hormones as they go through menopause and beyond".

Nicki's goal was to write a book that every woman can understand and take positive action on, even if they’re in a time of crisis.

In the book, Nicki explains what our hormones are and what they do, then introduces us to the 'feisty four' - those particular hormones which can cause us so much trouble - Cortisol, Thyroid, Insulin and Oestrogen.

We are shown how these affect us and given useful tips to take immediate action to get them under control.

The book then offers a four step hormone balancing plan - Eat, Rest, Cleanse and Move.  Each step has its own chapter with practical solutions and advice.  

There is even an eating plan at the back of the book with some great recipes.  The basis of the diet is gluten free with a limit on the usual baddies, sugar and alcohol but Nicki recommends good fats and upping your protein intake.

This is a really comprehensive guide to taking back control over your hormones and I had several 'a-ha' moments - for example that spare tyre won't go if we are constantly secreting cortisol due to stress.

I plan to use Nicki's tips over the coming months to see if I can feel more like my old self again. The book also discusses the various options surrounding HRT and the importance of getting yourself tested to identify exactly which hormones are giving your problems.

I am already taking Thyroxine to balance my hypothyroidism but I know there is more I can do. Nicki also includes a guide to supplements which may help.

To find out more, go to Website; www.happyhormonesforlife.com or connect with Nicki on Facebook or Twitter.

The giveaway

You can find "It's Not You, It's Your Hormones" on Amazon but I also have 2 copies to give away. The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 30th June.  Terms and conditions apply which you can find on my competitions page.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!



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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Problem Page Edition 22 2017

This week - when you're 44 and your parents still yell and you, and what to do when your sister hates the boyfriend who led you to get done for drink driving.


Man and woman's feet in the sea next to a starfish - Mother Distracted Problem Page Edition 22 2017

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week's questions.

Q: It's been months since my ex broke up with me for a silly reason. I dream of him and long for closure. I feel abandoned. What do I do?

A: It might have been a silly reason to you, but it obviously wasn’t to him. Was it something you did? Did you try to make amends and apologise?

Or did he just tire of the relationship and decide he wanted to start afresh?

Unless you can honestly examine the reason why and work out whether you played a part in it, I think moving forward will be difficult.

When you say you ‘long for closure’ do you mean you still don’t understand why he left? Or are you secretly hoping he’ll return.

When relationships end you don’t really get ‘closure’. Over time you move to an acceptance that the relationship is over and hopefully move on to someone new.

You can either contact him and ask to talk about what happened, understanding that this may be painful and he may well not want to come back or draw a line under things and look to the future.

Don’t wallow. Get out and about and focus on you, your hopes and dreams, what you would like to achieve.

Now is the time to get busy and to concentrate on your career and the hobbies you are passionate about.

And if he did dump you for something stupid, a little bit of anger wouldn’t hurt either.

Are you really sure he’s right for you? If he treated you badly why would you want him back. Isn’t there someone kinder and more gorgeous you could dream about?


Q: Are girls more attracted to guys who give them less attention?

If a girl has no problem drawing attention and has plenty of guys interested in her, if a guy doesn’t give her the normal amount of attention she’s used to, does that make the guy more attractive because he isn’t like the rest?

A: It’s really hard to say. Everyone is different. A girl who regularly receives a lot of attention may find a more aloof guy more of a challenge - but this is really stereotyping girls and romantic behaviour.

You are basically asking “does playing hard to get work” - and the answer to that is yes - but only if there’s interest there in the first place.

Lots of women are fed up of game playing and just want a normal, decent guy who treats them well.

If you’re interested ask her out. She’ll either say yes or no - and you'll avoid wasting possibly months!


Q: Does it mean anything when a guy opens up about his feelings?

At work one of my managers told me he was angry because he had been turned down for the role of general manager.  He said he felt like their slave and really let off steam to me. Does it mean anything, like he trusts me or something?

A: I think this guy was just incredibly angry and wanted someone to vent to. He would have been better taking his grievances to HR than offloading them onto you, particularly if the position he was turned down for was as senior as general manager - not very professional.

I hope you just listened without commenting and haven’t told all and sundry about his confession.

He has put you in quite a tricky situation. I would definitely forget the conversation and not refer to it again.

And if you’re asking whether it was some sort of romantic overture, since the guy was livid about his career prospects being thwarted, I don’t think love was anywhere on his mind.


Q: I am 18 and my boyfriend is turning 22 soon. How do I tell my mum about him?

A: Are you saying your mum doesn’t know he exists? And is it the fact that he’s 4 years older that’s worrying you?

At 18 you are perfectly old enough to choose your boyfriends and I don’t see the age gap as a problem.

If you suspect your mum won’t react well then make her a coffee and tell her you’ve met a nice boy who makes you happy and would she like to meet him?

If he really isn’t a ‘nice boy’ and has some less than attractive characteristics (criminal record, bad habits, drink, drugs etc) then before you tell your mum you might want to ask yourself what you’re doing with him.

Q: How can I act like just a friend to my crush?

I really (really) like this one girl but I want to act like a friend to her. How do I do this with out getting friend zoned? (I also want to do a lot of things with her going like sailing and stuff but with out it seeming like I like her) Please don't question my twelve year old reasoning for this.

A: You’re right. The reasoning does seem rather, age 12. Are you afraid she’ll outright reject you if you tell her how you feel? Does she already have a boyfriend?

You say you want to act like a friend to her without being friend-zoned. But if you are a friend, that’s exactly where you end up, surely?

You either have to be brave and ‘fess up and accept that adult relationships come with a hefty amount of risk and rejection or accept that, as a friend, you are voluntarily friend-zoning YOURSELF.

She may well like going sailing and sharing joint hobbies, but as soon as a boyfriend appears on the scene, you’ll probably find that curtailed.

Wouldn’t you rather be the boyfriend?

Q: Is it OK that I'm 44 and my parents still yell at me?

A: It’s not OK but I don’t think people’s parenting style ever really changes - and they probably still see you as their child.

The bigger question is how you react to it.

It’s very easy to fall back into the old patterns, no matter how old you are - shouting back, flouncing off, slamming doors, refusing to contact them.

As a 44 year old, you at least have a chance to break that pattern but calming asking them not to yell at you, avoiding the situations where they are likely to yell and if you are still behaving like a teenager, think about whether there are more mature ways you can behave.

You don’t say what they yell about - there’s a difference between yelling at someone in frustration who still hasn’t got their life together (no job, no relationship, poor health etc) and yelling at you just because they’re your parents and they can.

Have you sat down with them and discussed this?

You are all old enough now to do that, surely?

Q: My sister hates my boyfriend but I don't know if she is right about him. What should I do?

I got done for drink driving from with him. That's one reason she feels strongly about him, that he let me drive. She has started blaming him and raising her voice to him.  He has started to get upset and raises his voice back. She says she feels very disrespected and cries because I am with him. She says he's abusive. Is she right?

A: You were just as much at fault as your boyfriend for getting behind the wheel while drunk, (arguably more so), so it’s not entirely his fault. Hopefully this was a one-off you have learned a lesson from.

But since he didn’t try to stop you, it doesn’t sound as if he’s a particularly nice guy - unless he was drunk as well.

You say that your sister cries that you’re with him which seems like an extreme reaction to me though, unless he is somehow putting you in regular danger. Are you sure she is not just jealous?

I’m not sure why she feels ‘disrespected’. That sounds like someone who is used to getting her own way and is having a tantrum that you won’t ditch your boyfriend.

What do your parents and your other friends think? What do you think?

If your boyfriend is unkind, controlling or not making you happy then he’s not the one for you.

Is drink playing a large part in your relationship?

The problem here is that you seem to be abdicating responsibility for answering these question to others, including your sister.

I’m not sure how old you are but I think you need to reach out for some advice to someone older and wiser (parents?).

How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page 

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 
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