A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

For April….

FOR APRIL….

xxx

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Showing my Love for The Olympics #TeamGB #OurGreatestTeam

For the last couple of weeks I have  been GLUED to my TV, Internet and Mobile keeping up with all things Olympics.

I have ALWAYS loved the Olympics and have watched every year, but this year, being held in our home country, everything was different and I was captivated even more than usual!

I always said if the Olympics came to the UK I would volunteer, take time out from work and be part of it all. However with my little girl being so young and living such a distance from London it unfortunately wasn’t feasible so my once in a life-time dream was put on hold and instead I threw myself into “watching”  and “supporting” TeamGB.

I thought the opening ceremony was outstanding, Danny Boyle did an amazing job of portraying our small yet wonderful island and how it has grown and developed through the years. After watching I was proud to be part of such a historic and vibrant dot on the map and even prouder that we had just showcased ourselves and opened our country to the world. Venues and historic sites across London and other parts of the UK transformed and major sporting events were held against stunning backdrops of iconic London landmarks.

Initially the medals seemed a little slow but after Rebecca Adlington secured her bronze in the women’s 400m freestyle and the Men’s Gymnastic and Equestrian Teams secured Bronze and Silver respectively the flood gates soon opened and nothing could stop TeamGB!

1st August saw Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome win GOLD and Bronze respectively in the Men’s Cycling Individual Time Trial. In the rowing Women’s Pair Glover and Stanning stormed home to win GOLD with the Men’s Eight winning a very respectable Bronze. Michael Jamieson swam the race of his life to win Silver in the men’s 200m Breaststroke too.

2nd August brought a flurry of medals for TeamGB. Peter Wilson set his sights on GOLD in the Men’s Double Trap Shooting and his target was spot on! The men’s lightweight four, comprising of Chambers, Chambers, Bartley and Williams took Silver in the rowing. Gemma Gibbons kicked British Judo into the limelight with an amazing performance to take Silver. Hoy, Hindes and Kenny lit the taper for what was to be a stunning medal haul in tack cycling, bringing home the first GOLD in the Men’s Team Sprint and Lizzie Armistead finished off where the men’s team failed with a Silver in the Women’s Cycle Road Race. Baillie and Stott and Florence and Hounslow brought the canoe slalom festivities to an amazing close with a GOLD and Silver respectively in the Men’s C2 Double Canoe.

3rd August saw further success in the Velodrome, Clancy, Thomas, Burke and Kennaugh took GOLD in the Men’s Cycling Team Pursuit and Victoria Pendleton GOLD in the Women’s Keirin. British Judo once again  shone with Karina Bryant taking Bronze and there was further success in the rowing, with Watkins and Grainger storming home to take GOLD in the Women’s Double Sculls, Nash and Snatch taking Bronze in the Men’s Pair and Alan Campbell Bronze in the Single Sculls. Rebecca Adlington put up a stirling effort to clinch Bronze in the women’s 800m Freestyle in the pool.

4th August became known as Super Saturday, with a stunning medal haul for Team GB. Jessica Ennis sailed home to victory with a clean sweep in the women’s Heptathlon to take GOLD, Mo Farah stormed across the finish line in the Men’s 10,000m to take GOLD and Greg Rutherford also jumped into his GOLD medal position in the Men’s Long Jump. Another GOLD for the Velodrome too with King, Trott and Rowsell pedalling home to victory in the Women’s Team Pursuit. There were two further medals for the GB rowing team, Gregory, Reed, James and Triggs Hodge took GOLD in the Men’s Four and Copeland and Hosking, GOLD in the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls. Purchase and Hunter took Silver in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls.

5th August saw Andy Murray finally beat his nemesis and take GOLD in the Men’s Singles Tennis Finals and in partnership with Laura Robson he took Silver in the Mixed Doubles. Further success was also to come in the men’s Gymnastics with Louis Smith and Matt Whitlock taking Silver and Bronze in the Men’s Pommel Horse. Ed Clancy took Bronze in the Men’s Omnium in the Velodrome, whilst Christine Ohuruogu, a Silver in the Women’s 400m. Ben Ainslie sealed his place in Olympian history with GOLD in the Men’s Finn and Percy and Simpson took Silver in the Men’s Star.

6th August brought further GOLD’s with Jason Kenny taking GOLD in the Men’s Sprint in the Velodrome and Skelt, Maher, Brash and Charles jumping into the GOLD medal spot in the Equestrian Team Jumping. Beth Tweddle added to her many medals with a bronze in the Women’s Uneven Bars.

7th August The Brownlee Brothers stole the show in the Triathlon, with Alistair taking GOLD and Jonathan Bronze. Nick Dempsey sailed to a Silver Medal in the Men’s RS-X Windsurfing and the Equestrian Team added to their impressive medal tally with yet another GOLD from Bechtolsheimer, Hester and Dujardin in the Team Dressage. Laura Trott and Sir Chris Hoy added to the GOLDEN glory in the Velodrome with GOLD medals in the Men’s Keirin and Women’s Ominium.

8th August saw just one medal for Team GB, Robert Grabarz jumped his way to a Bronze medal in the Men’s High Jump.

9th August and the medal tally was back on form with the girls taking centre stage! Nicola Adams became the first woman ever to take a GOLD medal in Women’s Boxing and entered the history books. Charlotte Dujardin took GOLD in the Individual Dressage and Laura Bechtolsheimer, Bronze.  Jade Jones also shot Taekwondo into the limelight, taking GOLD.

10th August and Lutalo Muhammad took to the Taekwondo ring and took away a Bronze, whilst Patience and Bithell and Mills and Clark both took Silver in the 470 sailing. The Women’s Hockey Team and Anthony Ogogo both fought their way to a Bronze medal.

11th August and Mo Farah became a double Olympian, taking an amazing GOLD in the Men’s 5,000m and Luke Campbell added to the GOLD tally with a Boxing GOLD. Another GOLD came from Ed McKeever in the Men’s Kayak Single and Schofield and Heath, a Silver in the Men’s Kayak Double. Tom Daly did his dad proud and was ecstatic with his Bronze in the Men’s 10m Platform Diving.

12th August, the final day brought a GOLD and Silver in men’s Boxing, from Anthony Joshua and Freddie Evans respectively and Samatha Murray, a Silver in the Modern Pentathlon.

Overall Team GB finished a FANTASTIC 3rd in the overall medal table, with 29 GOLD medals, 17 Silver and 19 Bronze. It was our best performance for almost a century and proved that Team GB 2012 were #OurGreatestTeam

I don’t think there’s one highlight of the Games for me, I screamed with joy every time we took a medal, let alone GOLD! However Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Ben Ainslie, Katherine Grainger and Victoria Pendleton all stand out for their amazing achievements both prior to and during London 2012! For some of them it was a climax of a career and the last Olympics, and in some cases competition that they would participate in.

London 2012 saw some new names move up the table in British Olympian History and new names were made. In addition, it also saw some amazing achievements from other countries too, no one will forget the name Michael Phelps! he may have got off to a slow start but he soon showed that he had earned his place in Olympic history as the greatest Olympian and was going to go out on a high!

I think the Olympics have been great for the UK, it’s brought people together in a united show of patriotism and joy, people who would never normally speak with one another interacted and London, a city not normally known for it’s sociable commuters appeared to spring into full blown conversation.

The Olympics most certainly has ‘inspired a generation’! I hope that the plans for investment in sports within schools being discussed by political leaders come to fruition and develop for when my daughter attends school.

Times haven’t been easy for a lot of people of late, but for two brief weeks it seemed as if a lot of worry had been forgotten and people celebrated with one another. I just hope that some of the joy and patriotism stays with us all and I can’t wait for the Paralympics now!

*Images taken from the London 2012 website

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Babies at Work

I’ve just watched a BBC two programme entitled “Babies in the Office” which saw a London mini cab firm Addison Lee trial a Babies at Work scheme. They invited staff to bring their children to work, initially for a trial day and then for a month’s trial.

The idea being that if staff could bring their children to work there would be benefits for all concerned including:

  • Saving on childcare costs
  • Enabling parents to spend more time with their child
  • Enabling parents (especially mums) to actually come back to work after having children (a quarter of women who go off on maternity don’t actually return to work!)
  • Save the company money on recruitment costs for recruiting and training new staff when others leave for childcare reasons
  • Instil a sense of loyalty and productivity in staff

It was a really, really interesting programme and I can see both the positives and negatives that have come from it.

The average cost of full-time childcare in the UK is £385 / £5,000 a year and a study by The Daycare Trust recently showed that some working parents are paying up to £15,000 a year on childcare costs, with nursery costs having risen on average by nearly 6% in a year, whilst wages remain stagnant. With cuts to child tax credits, and a report from Aviva last year also stating that “The expense of childcare could make it more cost-effective for some parents to give up work and stay at home”,  schemes like this could mean the world of difference to the modern UK family.

The staff taking part in the scheme ranged from call takers in the call centre and administrative assistants to managers so those participating had really varied types of workloads, all with their different pressures, and the company “baby proofed” the offices ahead of the scheme and provided facilities such as nappy changing areas and feeding rooms.

The trial did have it’s high’s and lows and it wasn’t always easy for the children, parents and colleagues. Some days went better than others and if a child was over-tired, ill or under stimulated you can imagine the consequences. It seemed that the older the child (2+) the tougher it was but this is obviously because they need more attention and are more mobile.

There was a big variation on people’s views on the scheme initially, with many, especially male colleagues, very unsure of the scheme. However as the trial progressed it was interesting to see the change in views and the initial sceptics holding their hands up to admit their views had changed.

Babies at Work schemes have been running for some time in the USA and there are currently 170 companies running the scheme.

The Arizona State Department of Health runs a babies at work scheme. Will Humble, the director of the agency says: “We’ve invested a lot of effort in that middle management team and a lot of them are women in their thirties and they’re having babies and we can’t afford to lose them. What we gain is a long term increase in our productivity and we build and continue to reinforce the commitment we have with our employees, which helps us in the long run to retain those critical employees that may have made another choice.” (BBC – Eight Radical Solutions to the Childcare Issue)

I think that is an excellent and refreshing way for companies to think and frankly more companies should have that view! However I am also inclined to think that such schemes will have limitations in some environments, depending on people’s jobs and I can understand some parents wishing to have their parental / home life and work life separate. However I think to run a scheme like this and give people the choice is fantastic.

Addison Lee actually decided to introduce the scheme on a permanent basis and to combat the issue of older toddlers they have introduced an on-site nursery. One member of staff said it would save her £1,000 a month!!! I for one look forward to hearing how it goes and hope this is a step forward. In this time of austerity and with financial support for families being slashed something needs to radically change and I commend Addison lee for taking such a leap of faith! I would love to hear your views? What would being able to take your baby to work mean to you? Did you watch the programme? What did you think?

If you want to read more about the programme why not take a look at this Telegraph article or visit the BBC i-Player and take a look.

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Flying the Flag – Red, White and Blue Crazy

With the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics fast approaching the red, white and blue is coming out in full force! There’s a host of goodies emblazoned with the union jack and red, white or blue and I’ve been utilising good old Pinterest to see what delights are on offer and thought I would compile a few collections of what’s on offer to help fly the flag for Britain.

Hope you enjoy!

KIDS WEAR FROM NEXT

WOMEN’S WEAR FROM NEXT

MEN’S WEAR FROM NEXT

PARTY SUPPLIES FROM PEEKS

COSTUME IDEAS FROM A VARIETY OF OUTLETS

The above costume outfits are from Very.co.uk, Matalan, Carnival Store and The Online Joke Shop (you must check out their Captain Britannia costume! It’s a feast for the eyes!)

Happy Jubilee and Olympics everyone, Rule Britannia!

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Protect the future of time with our babies: Six Months for Mums Campaign

On my recent blogging travels catching up on other bloggers posts I came across a post from ReadySteadyMummy about A Working Families Campaign entitled Six Months for Mums and it inspired me to write my own post about the campaign.

It seems the lovely Government are yet again considering attacking the great average British Family with more un family friendly policies. This time they are considering reducing maternity leave to 18 weeks (4 and a half months)

Current law allows most women to return to work after 2 weeks, but it is presumed that most will take 52 weeks leave unless they state otherwise.  Under potential new Government plans, it will be presumed that women will take 18 weeks of maternity leave after which they will have ask for more leave and negotiate with their employer about how it may be taken.

My immediate alarm bells ring here, in that many employers, especially in the current climate may refuse mothers the extra time or state that it must be taken unpaid, which as my previous post The Tightening Belt already shows that many women are struggling on maternity leave and ending up in debt. By reducing the amount of leave women can presumably take, it is undoubtedly going to add further pressure for mum’s to return to work earlier than they want to.

It’s not just that though, by shortening maternity leave and forcing women back into work the Government are failing to look at the additional impact this may have.

SLEEP

Many parents don’t have the luxury of a baby who sleeps through by 4 months, I did (please don’t throw something, I’m sorry!), however many are still feeding during the night or dealing with teething etc. By making mums return to work early there will be an influx of sleep-deprived zombie like new mothers staggering their way to work every day! It will be like a scene from Night of the Living Dead! Seriously though, the first few months are so exhausting, there are so many changes to routine and sleep patterns, obviously the people recommending this haven’t been there!

WEANING AND BREASTFEEDING

Babies are weaned at 6 months, a process most parents want to be actively involved in, if they have to return to work early then this will mean that someone else is going to have to take on the responsibility of this and that the average parent will not have much of an involvement. This in turn may mean that processes aren’t followed as parents may wish (due to nurseries or childcare providers not having the means to follow desired methods ie baby led weaning etc) or even that we generate a society of new parents who lack a basic understanding of the requirements of child nutrition etc that many learn through the weaning process. Many women breastfeed (or aim to) until at least 6 months, once their child is ready for weaning. Whilst some organisations MAY provide facilities for breastfeeding mothers, it frankly isn’t that realistic. I couldn’t pump enough milk, it just didn’t work for me, I tried manual and electric breast pumps but I got nothing. I HAD to breastfeed. Making women return to work may mean many mums have to stop breastfeeding or choose not to do it at all because of this. This isn’t a major issue but perhaps they would have chosen to or continued to do otherwise, and isn’t it contradicting what all the advice and guidance suggests to us of breast is best and exclusive breast-feeding for at least the first 6 months???

FIRSTS

The first year is so important, the first roll, the first sit unaided, the first crawl, the first steps… these are moments parents long to be involved in and to witness. By four and a half months most of these haven’t yet happened! My daughter didn’t sit up until 7 months, bum shuffled at 11 months and didn’t walk till 17 months! If parents have to return to work, chances are they will miss most of these… that’s a huge shame and quite sad really, one or two fine, but to miss most of the major occurrences in your child’s first year…?

BONDING

The first months of a baby’s life is about them bonding with those closest t them. I had an amazing few months with my little girl as you will read below, we did all sorts and I really believe it helped her development and our bond. However at four months she developed the most extreme separation anxiety, in fact it was the worst my HV had ever seen! I will post about this in more detail another time, but basically I couldn’t leave my daughter with ANYONE for four and a half months. She was HYSTERICAL every time, even if I just went into the kitchen. I had to go into work one day and came home to find my little girl still screaming. It had been over 3 hours and apparently she hadn’t stopped once. No matter what we did she screamed and screamed, sobbing uncontrollably. Babies feel the need for closeness to their parents / mums and mums in turn often feel the same need, this often doesn’t change until well after 6 months at least. I was so stressed out during that four and a half months, it really took its toll on me emotionally. It’s unfair for mums to have added pressure put on them by potentially having no choice but to return to work.

ACTIVITIES AND SUPPORT

When I was on maternity leave I took every opportunity to get out and about with my little one, to meet new people, attend support groups and activity groups to not only get support myself and meet like-minded mums but to help me learn how to stimulate my daughter too. I went to a breastfeeding support group every week and had dinner with girls from the group after. I did baby massage, baby yoga, treasure boxes, music and sensory groups and messy play, all through my local Sure Start Centre as well as a weaning course when my daughter was 4 and a half months (which was invaluable) and rhyme and music sessions at my local library. I had a lovely time learning new skills, making new friends and spending quality, fun time with my little girl. I did this through the whole year I was off. As the months progressed we also attended soft play centres, swim sessions and had coffee mornings and play dates at friends houses, it was lovely and it really helped make me the mum I am today, I am sure of that.

If the Government go ahead and reduce maternity leave to 18 months they will change the modern mum and potentially further impact on the modern family, young people and society as a whole. They stress the importance of “Society” and “Family” and “Education / Child Development“, well my response to that is don’t proceed with a policy that has the potential to have a detrimental impact on all of these important areas.

Working Families are campaigning for a minimum standard of 26 weeks (six months) of maternity leave for all women.

They want to know if six months matters/ed to you. Whether you’re about to have a baby, are in the middle of maternity leave or you’re back at work, they would like to hear your stories.

You can visit their site to find out more or ‘like’ the Working Families Facebook Page and share your story there with them.

Please show your support and protect the future of our time with our babies

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The Tightening Belt

The current economic climate as we all know is very bleak and depressing frankly, especially for the modern family and working mum.

A recent survey carried out by u-switch.com has found that almost a third of new mothers end up in debt following maternity leave and 1 in 10 end up shortening their planned maternity leave due to financial pressures. This did initially surprise me, but then I realised actually, that is highly plausible.

Having not long returned to work myself following maternity leave I have recently been wondering what I would do should I have another child. I was lucky enough this time to have been able to save in advance of my maternity leave. I had a decent salary which left me with some disposable income each month, so I was able to put money away. It was these savings that got me through my leave and enabled me to take the full year off that I had wanted to take with my little girl. However they only just stretched!

Had I not had this I would have probably ended up with in debt of over £3,000 at least if not more, especially since I unfortunately started a new part time role just before I went on maternity (timing!), meaning I halved my salary and therefore had a less attractive maternity package.

The u-switch.com survey found that 28% of mums had gone into the red during their maternity leave with almost £2,500 in debts and only a quarter of mums felt ready financially for motherhood.

I felt I was prepared for motherhood and maternity, we worked out that although it would be tight I could take the year off and could go part-time. However that was before the UK fell into its current state. With the rising cost of fuel and increase in costs at the supermarket tills, things don’t feel as plain sailing anymore. Don’t get me wrong, we are by no means in dire straits but I miss that little extra cash in my pocket each month. I have wondered whether or not to look for that full time job that will help me bring in more money, but will this just end up going on childcare and extra fuel to travel to and from work each month anyway? (My husband and I do a combined weekly mileage of 620 miles and that’s just travelling to and from work!) At the same time though I love spending time with my little girl and I don’t really want to have to sacrifice the time I have with her. It’s such a hard situation.

If I were to have another baby, which I would like at some point, I feel a little sad to think that I may not be able to have the same time off with them that I had with my little girl. On my part-time salary I can’t afford to save as much in advance and don’t want to end up racking the debt up.

I think it is so hard for us as modern mums, as I have said many times before on my blog, it’s not like when our mum’s had us, most women HAVE to go out to work and many don’t have the option or flexibility of part-time hours or ‘bank / agency’ work like many women used to do. So many of my friends have been declined flexible working or reduced working hours on business grounds, so what choice do mum’s have?

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com said: “It’s heartbreaking that so many mums are being forced into debt or having to cut short their maternity leave just to make ends meet.

“It is clear that more needs to be done by the Government to help families cope with the financial burden of parenthood, but in the meantime families can help their situation by reviewing household budgets and looking at where they can cut costs to save a bit of extra cash.” (Quote taken from u-switch.com press release

Ann has a point (even if it is with a view to directing people to her website), the Government should be doing more, but instead mum’s and the average UK family seem to be a target for this government. Limits on child tax credit allowances and child benefit payments are seeing the average family lose even more money, this combined with huge public sector cuts, UK wide redundancies and rises in fuel and shopping bills as mentioned before spells a very black outlook for the modern hard working family.

An article in the Daily Mirror on 11th April entitled Benefits Trapped highlights the plight. Single mum Rachel Vallender and her two year old son are scraping by despite Rachel working 22 hours a week. She states:

“I’m having to get into debt to try to make ends meet and keep up with rising bills, against a drop in tax credits and frozen child benefit. I’m left with £10 a week to feed the two of us. I worry about the diet I’m giving him and I end up eating just one meal a day – often his leftovers. I was told by the tax office I’d be better off giving up work. I have friends that rely on benefits and they are better off than me. How can that be right?”

An article , also in the Daily Mirror (I pick these up through work!) on 5th April, entitled “We can’t afford to go to work now that we have kids” highlighted the stories of several women who can’t afford to go to work due to rising childcare costs. It states that:

 “new research from the children’s charity Daycare Trust suggests 44,000 fewer families are getting help with childcare costs since the Government introduced changes to tax credits, whilst nursery costs have risen by nearly 6%”

Again, many found they were better off on state benefits. A crazy scenario when the Government is wanting to get people off state benefits!

So even if you have to cut your maternity leave short and head back to work, many are still not any better off due to the current economic climate, rising childcare costs and cuts made by the Government. It seems no matter what way you look at it, it’s a lose lose situation for the average modern family, especially the modern mum.

While we can’t change the current climate, I guess we can take steps to try to help our pockets a little. Just some of the hints and tips I have heard in recent weeks as to how to save money in the current climate include:

Petrol – apparently the AA say you can make significant savings on your fuel costs by adopting simple measures such as these below:

  • Make sure tyres are inflated to the correct level
  • Carry less heavy items in your car / boot if possible and remove roof boxes when not being used
  • Travel at a steady speed, within the limit and don’t brake heavily or accelerate quickly

Shopping:

  • Online sites like My Supermarket can help you compare your weekly shopping costs and ‘check out’ from the cheapest store.
  • Sites like My Voucher Codes can find you discounts to use when shopping, always worth a look first.
  • Sign up to mother and baby clubs to receive discount vouchers such as Tesco’s, Asda’s Sainsbury’s Little Ones, Mothercare’s Gurgle
  • Buy in advance while 2 for 1 offers and sales are on and put items away (ie birthday’s etc)
  • Plan your weekly food ahead and only buy what you need. We plan what we are going to eat each week and make things like Shepherds Pies, Bolognaises, Lasagne’s, Chili’s etc which can be frozen and can give several meals

Insurance, Bills and Utilities:

  • Use sites such as U-Switch, Go Compare or Money Supermarket to see if you can cut your household utility bills.
  • It was recently highlighted that energy companies are soon going to have to make customers aware of their lowest tariffs so make sure you are getting all the information you need

Netmums United Kindmums campaign is this week highlighting ways families can save money and help one another by donating items they no longer need via Nearly New Wanted boards like those on their site, or at charity shops etc. Likewise when donating have a good look and see what purchases can be made via those channels too, it’s amazing what you can find. I am a regular at our local baby sale and buy lots of never worn or practically brand new clothes for my little girl for the year ahead, there’s some great bargains to be found!

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the situation isn’t going to get better any time soon so I guess every little helps. Do you have any additional suggestions, anything you found that’s really helpful? I’d love to hear your views, ideas and suggestions so please leave me a comment below.

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More Informed Birthing Choices for Women or Cost Cutting Measures?

It’s hit the headlines this last week that home births may be a safer and cheaper option than hospital and this in turn could also save the NHS a significant amount of money.

The study carried out by University of Oxford Researchers looked at 64,000 births in Englandbetween 2008 – 2010 and the relative costs of healthy births in different settings.

It found a planned birth in an obstetric unit was the most expensive option for mothers who already have children and a planned home birth was the cheapest. In addition, for people who haven’t had children before, a planned birth in a midwife-led unit is cheaper than one in an obstetric unit.

However according to the Royal College of Midwives* 96% of births still happen in hospital.

The Department of Health* has stated:

“As we modernise the NHS we have made it a priority to offer women choices in where they give birth.”

I personally am all for home-births and birth’s in midwife led units. However I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say

“I planned a home birth and ended up being rushed into hospital”

or

“I was all set to give birth at the midwife led unit but then had to be rushed to the nearby hospital due to complications”.

Every mother dreams of an uncomplicated birth but the reality is that many unfortunately don’t have the choice in the first place (breech babies, etc) or last minute complications take the decision out of their hands.

If recommendations are to be made I am all in favour however the cost mustn’t be at the expense of the mother or baby. Mother’s must be able to make an informed decision and alternatives need to remain in place for any last minute changes or emergency’s. The Government and NHS need to assure this is the case and not just make moves to purely save money.

As you will have read in my birth story “Oh My God My Baby’s Coming Early” I didn’t have the choice, last minute complications and a breech position meant an inevitable quick c-section for me. I don’t know anyone who has had the home water birth or birth in a midwife led unit that they wanted. Am I wrong in this assumption? How did your birth go? Did it go according to plan? Would you have preferred an alternative birth? Did you have a home birth or midwife led birth? I’d love to hear your views and / or stories. Why not comment or link up with me below?

Whilst this post is talking about the service available to mums-to-be here in the UK I do want to also highlight a Save the Children campaign that I just wrote about recently to help expectant mums in developing countries too. #Blogitforbabies is a fab campaign being headed up by the lovely Mammasaurus.

We mustn’t forget that we are very lucky when compared to mum’s in Bangladesh. They don’t have the luxury of an NHS healthcare and 1 in 19 children don’t live to see their fifth birthday because of limited access to basic healthcare services. This means that preventable diseases are claiming the lives of innocent young children and babies.

Save the Children is appealing for £1 million to build life-saving clinics in some of the poorest and remotest areas of Bangladesh. If you haven’t already please take a look at ways you too can get involved in Save the Children’s campaign.

In the meantime I’d love to hear your views on the study here in the UK, the recommendations and what your experiences were!

*comments taken from article in The Guardian

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So What Do Women See As The Best Inventions This Century? Lets Find Out

Skipping through the good old Sun newspaper that was left on the desk at work recently I came across an article that really got me thinking.

Pregnancy Test firm Clearblue Plus have conducted a survey to find out what inventions from the last century women have favoured and it seems practicality by far outweighs leisure breakthrough’s such as the internet and television

Topping the poll of the most favoured invention in the last century was…. “The Pill” with 65% of women seeing it as one of the best inventions. The “bra” and good old “washing machine” also ranked highly in the survey completing the top three! Other items in the top ten included tampons, pregnancy tests, disposable nappies, mascara, jeans, fresh prepared meals and contact lenses.

To read more on the article about the survey click here

Now in my eyes yes there are some great inventions in there, yes I think tampons are an amazing invention and much prefer to towels, yes mascara does make me look a lot more human and yes disposable nappies do save a lot of work (however not always the environment), but would I class them as the best this century has to offer??? It made me think about what I would potentially see as some of the best inventions over the last century.

If I were to pick a top three I think I’d have to sit and think what couldn’t I do without and it would probably be:

My car

I have a disability, bad hips and back and I do struggle, for me my car gives me the freedom to get about door to door without having to walk to and wait at a bus stop. It’s a lifeline for me. In a way however the number of cars on our roads now and the pollution they create may be a bad thing, but for me it’s something I would struggle without. (Please note this of course is my dream car and nowhere near a reality but a girl can dream!)

Mobile phone / Telephone

I love keeping in touch with people, while my other half could gladly never use his phone, for me it’s another lifeline, it’s my social network to my friends and family. Whether it’s calling and speaking in person to have a good old natter or texting to arrange a date or see how someone is, I use my phone on a daily basis and if I ever forget to pick it up I feel lost without it. I also think it’s great to know that should an emergency ever arise you can easily call for help should you need it. All praise the telephone! (Again image is a dream, reality not so close!)

Washing Machine

Ok admittedly who wouldn’t class a washing machine as a fabulous invention!? Would you want to hand wash all your clothes on a daily / weekly basis… erm no thanks! Yes, the washing machine is a saviour, not just to women, but to mankind and would probably be on my list too. (and in fact mine is probably nicer looking than this image, finally!)

So what would your choices be? Why not Link Up with me below and share your thoughts?

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Could Your Baby Live to 100

Well the Office for National Statistics believe that a third of all babies born in the UK in the last 12 months will in fact live to the ripe old age of 100. Wow! Not bad I hear you say. But how come?

According to an article in the good old Sun newspaper that I happened to read lately the ONS are putting this possibility down to better medical science and environmental factors. factors such as:

Socialising

According to a study carried out by Dr Thomas Glass of the Harvard School of Public Health socialising can prolong life. So for all the mums holding play dates and coffee mornings and all of us heading on out to organised activities and playgroups, there’s a tick in the box for our little ones.

Alcohol

An NHS study has found that kids that grow up at home with alcohol drinkers are likely to drink in their teens (surely that’s not great? I hear you say). However if he/she drinks in moderation in adult life however Italian researchers claim that it cuts the risk of death from any cause by 18% How? No idea! but guess the lesson to be taken is that a little drink in moderation doesn’t harm.

Location

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people living with good air quality can live a year longer than people in more polluted areas. A big thumbs up for the countryside there then!

Family

genetics apparently also have a lot to do with it, Professor Paola Sabastiani, of Boston University states that living to 100 and beyond can often run in families. I’m off to check out our family tree!!!

Marriage

Apparently avoiding marriage is also a way of boosting your life! Probably a big cross there for a lot of people then! Age expert Dr Tom Peri says a large number of the post-100 population are spinsters… so it seems the key is to avoid the stress of marriage! #too late!!!

Diet

A good diet is an obvious choice, restricting calories lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of diabetes, all of which inevitably mean a better chance of a longer life. (note to self, follow point 1 of My April Goals blog!)

Exercise

Another obvious one is exercise, even a little exercise each day of 30 mins walking can help boost your health and therefore life expectancy. (If only I had my bionic legs!)

Sleep

Dr Tom Perls of the New England Centenarian Study says that routinely not getting enough sleep deducts a year from your life (I can now hear every mum and dad reading this groan!) The moral to be learned from this??? ear plugs???!

So whilst I am not sure I would rate too well on the scale of things listed above, I guess reading all this spurs me on to make changes and positively influence my daughter’s future potential. How are you rating in the scale of things?

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NEWS ALERT!: Chocolate is good for you and it can help you slim!!!

So I am reading the paper at work and hey presto there it is CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR YOU and even better IT COULD HELP YOU SLIM! My prayers have been answered and in time for Easter!

New scientific research shows people who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner.

The findings come from a study of nearly 1,000 people in the USA that looked at diet, calorie intake and body mass index (BMI) – a measure of obesity. It found those who ate chocolate a few times a week were, on average, slimmer than those who ate it occasionally. Scientists believe that even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may help weight loss rather than fat synthesis.

The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine so while you head off to read this study I’m off to grab the Easter Eggs!

Oh and if you are interested other interesting health facts about chocolate include:

  • Chocolate could slash the risk of heart disease by a third
  • Chocolate is good for the brain, stopping inflamation and blood clotting and giving the memory a boost
  • Antioxidants in chocolate can help ward off diseases like cancer
  • The calcium in chocolate is good for your bones

I’ve got all the facts I need! Enjoy!!!! Now where did I put the Thorntons???

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