Revolution Mother

Revolution Mother

Archive of ‘Parent Advice’ category

How to help your kids get rid of stress and feel less pressure in life

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Managing built up stress had become somewhat of a favorite subject for scientists, media and various lifestyle gurus lately. In fact, it is mentioned and referred to so often that the word “stress” itself had come to signify stress overload and health problems related to it as well, which is one of the reasons we tend to relate it solely with its negative physical and psychological outputs.

In order for a parent to tackle problems related to it and teach their children how to do the same, it is necessary for us to understand its inner workings to the best of our ability.

What exactly is stress?

Stress is nothing more than an instinctive reaction of our body to any type of challenge. In other words, stress is an “all hands on deck” sign to all of our internal mechanisms that helps our body to prepare for the challenge we are faced with.

Seeing thoughts and emotions play a big part in the way information and stimuli from the outside world is processed by the human body and, consequently, the brain, it is not that uncommon for those information and stimuli to take a wrong turn somewhere and end up transformed to physical discomfort and anxiety, or worrying almost arbitrarily about just about anything. To put it simply, instead of helping us be more alert, energized and to access all of our physical and mental capacities, stress can have the opposite effect if not handled properly.

The same happens when we are faced with too many unwanted challenges – the body is unable to translate stress into positive action and it simply turns it into negative energy.

Inspect and introspect

Solving your child’s problems in most cases must start with our solving our own, or at least carefully examining how some of our actions or lack thereof affects our kids in everyday life. Amazingly, adults tend to forget how keenly and instinctively kids feel and copy everything we do, right down to the subconscious mechanisms for dealing with challenges we ourselves are most often not aware of. It may be an obvious point, but it is worth repeating that you cannot trick a child unless he or she desperately wants to believe you, and even then you cannot outflank their instinct. Our kids are programmed to read us like an open book and consequently memorize and apply that knowledge to a letter, just as we are programmed to care for them and protect them. They will simply know in their bones if something is not right, even if, on the surface, it seems you have tricked them into believing otherwise.

Where to start

In order to maximize the positive effects of stress and minimize the negative ones, it is best for us to start from the outside, so to speak. Experts agree that healthy nutrition, regular meals, physical activity and overall balanced and orderly lifestyle are the prerequisites for us to be able to handle challenges as smoothly as possible.

This is even more important for our little ones, as their young bodies are going through bigger and more violent chemical and hormonal changes than us adults and their chemical balance is that more easily disturbed.

The other part of the equation is coaching our children to properly reroute the stimuli into positive action, to recognize the right moment for blowing off some steam as it is up to us to provide them with a healthy way to do so.

Excitement vs. Anxiousness

Anxious kids or kids that tend to transform stress into fear, worrying and feeling of great pressure, think differently to other children. Their first reaction is thinking about everything that can go wrong in a certain situation, which, in essence, is worrying by default. In order for us to reverse that trend, we must first teach out kid the difference between thoughts and feelings and how first in most cases leads to the latter.

In order to do so, encourage your child to speak openly about his or hers concerns and to write them down, preferably connecting a particular thought with a corresponding feeling.

Then teach them to rationally examine those causal connections by writing down questions that will help them to determine their internal stress pathways and to build a mechanism for recognizing, singling out and confronting those thoughts before they transform into emotions. Be patient and allow enough time for this process to become a reflex, automatic response to a challenge.

Tempo

Although right approach to challenges is imperative, there comes a time for us all when we have to relax.

Recognizing that moment and applying the preferred method of stress relief without hesitation is a delicate art that is to be nurtured throughout our whole lives. It is important our pride and joy has a way of blowing off some steam and they will naturally rely on your guidance in that regard, especially while they are in the single-digit years. If we adopt healthy habits in stress relief, our little one will do so, as well.

It would be great if every parent could include yoga, some type of sports activity and meditation in their daily life. Contrary to what most people assume, most children take up meditation effortlessly.

Breathing exercises are also an extremely powerful tool for achieving almost instant relief and you could perform them just about anywhere and anytime. Half an hour of video games is also great for children to blow off some steam, but not more than an hour.

Last, but not least, it is advisable to provide your child with a physical stress-remover appropriate for studying and mental effort in general. Stress balls are a great example, as they provide another way of channeling the energy stress provides us with without having to stop with what we are doing in order to take a breather.

The right approach to handling stressful situations is a crucial tool for overcoming challenges in any area of human endeavor. Stress is a formidable force, but it should not be feared. We should respect it, learn to utilize its good sides and avoid the bad ones as much as possible. The sooner our little ones learn how to handle it, sooner they will be able to harness it, use it to their advantage and to enjoy its numerous benefits.

 

5 classic TV shows to show your kids

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It seems there are a lot of children’s TV shows and a lot of grown up family shows. But what about those TV programs you used to watch as a child? You know, the ones that seemed daggy at the time, but in retrospect were full of wholesome values? Your parents would gather you around the TV every Saturday night for some classic family bonding coupled with the latest Warner Bros release.

There are a stack of great TV shows to show your children – but can you remember the names of any off the top of your head? That show you used to watch every afternoon? The programme you laughed to? Cried to? Grew up with? Check out these classics that you and your children will love!

Little House on the Prairie

The simple life. A family that works together, plays together, lives together, laughs and cries together. Set on the backdrop of the American frontier, your children will marvel at the Ingalls family as they struggle and succeed in this harsh environment.

The Wonder Years

Who could forget this classic coming of age TV series? We all joined in teenage angst with Kevin, Paul and Winnie as they navigated the stormy waters of growing up. From first kisses, parents, school troubles, driving and a liberal dose of humour, The Wonder Years had it all. Look past the classic 80’s clothing and your kids will discover that some things never go out of style!

The Cosby Show

The Huxtables brought us into their Brooklyn home and into their hearts. We could all relate to and laugh with the whole family. Based on classic values, the Cosby Show brought down many racial barriers in US television, showing a normal, loving, clean-living family into our living rooms. What made the Cosby Show a great program for your children? It’s hilarious! Bill Cosby’s seamless humour and candour will certainly resonate with your children.

MacGyver

No-one, but no-one can look at a paperclip, gaffer-tape or Swiss Army knife the same way after watching an episode of MacGyver! You were amazed at the way MacGyver could get out of any situation using his bare wits and simple gadgets. Your children too will be amazed at how MacGyver used smarts to get out of almost any situation. A classic TV series that shows violence is not the answer to problems, and that clear thinking, education and a paperclip can get you out of any difficult situation!

There are heaps of classic shows that are perfect for you and your children to watch. Shows that you don’t need to worry about covering your children’s eyes or ears. Shows that won’t give them nightmares. Classics you can snuggle up together and spend a night in front of the TV with. As any parent will attest, there are so many programs that don’t support those values you hold close too. Why not check out some of the classics to enjoy together?

How to Transform Your Spare Room into a Nursery: Tips and Inspiration

A nursery is probably one of the most exciting rooms to decorate. You’re going to have a baby in the house soon, and decorating the nursery just makes it all seem that bit more ‘real’. Sometimes you can even make a nursery for a toddler, to help them learn and play in their own exciting space! The smallest room is usually best for nurseries; the spare room. In this post, you’ll get some helpful tips as well as some cool inspiration to get you started!

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Photo Author: Flickr

Planning the Nursery

First of all, you need to plan what you’re going to do. You can’t just make it up as you go along! What’s already in the room you’re going to decorate for your child? Can you reuse them in the nursery, or will you need to move them to another room? You’ll need to consider how much space you have, and the budget you have too. You may need to consider home improvement loans if you have lots of renovations to make.

Selecting a Colour Scheme

What kind of colour scheme do you envision for your child? It doesn’t have to be blue for a boy and pink for a girl; you can think outside of the box and do whatever you like. Green and yellow are popular shades that work well for either sex. A light tone will give a lovely peaceful atmosphere, so whatever colours you choose try to keep them light. Research how colours change moods in order to select the best colours for your child.

The Walls

Now you’ve decided on your colour scheme, you can either choose your paint or buy wallpaper. There are loads of different wallpaper designs that are ideal for nurseries and kids bedrooms, but you can use stencils and wall stickers to customise the walls yourself if you like! Kids love looking at stars, teddy bears, clouds, moons, and flowers. Why not paint a popular cartoon character to make the wall even more unique?

The Furniture

Now you can move on to furniture you’d like in your baby’s room. You’ll need a crib/bed, a nappy changer, small wardrobe, and perhaps a toy box. Shelves might be useful too. You may already have furniture you can use for this; simply brighten it up with a lick of paint if you need to!

Look for carpets, bed linen, cushions, and curtains at this point too. Always keep your colour scheme in mind for the best effect!

Lighting

Shades and dimmers are your best bet for the nursery, as you don’t need anything too big or fussy. The baby needs a relaxing atmosphere in their nursery in order for them to get a good nights rest.

Decorations

Now you can add the finishing touches to a room; teddies, frames, toys, and other things that can help to create a nicer atmosphere.

Decoration Inspiration

There are so many things you can try in order to make your baby’s nursery beautiful and unique:

  • Make your own prints for the nursery using a wooden block, string, and paint. Simply tie the wooden block with the string and secure it in place with tape. Now you can brush paint onto the string, and practice stamping this onto paper. Once you’ve made a pattern you like, you can turn the block different ways to create something cool and intricate looking. By experimenting with different patterns, colours, and block shapes, you’ll come up with a work of art. A toddler could help with this project too!
  • This project works for butterfly shapes, stars, and flowers. All you need is some acrylic paint, a blank canvas, watercolour paper, watercolour paint, butterfly shaped (or whatever shape you like) paper punch, and pop dots or another type of glue. Paint the canvas a colour of your choice, and then paint the paper with patches of different colours. Leave this to dry, and then stamp out the butterflies from the paper. If you bend these slightly in the middle before gluing, you can make them look 3D on the canvas!
  • If the spare room doesn’t have much natural light, then you can always create the feeling of natural light by using a high resolution camera to take a picture of the beautiful blue sky. Blow the photo up, print it on shiny paper, and frame it!
  • You can create a modern looking nursery without it looking too grown up. Try shades of pastel pink and grey, with triangle patterns on the wall. If you’re good at origami, why not create an origami rabbit head or two to back with card and hang on the wall as a cute looking ‘trophy’.
  • A black and white room really lets gorgeous patterns pop and come alive!
  • Go for a classic looking room with shades of cream/white and a few gold accents. Dark wood furniture will give this room a great look.
  • Thick yellow and white horizontal stripes look amazing on a nursery wall, especially when paired with large stuffed animals and furry rug for interest.
  • Instead of coming up with a simple colour scheme for the nursery, why not come up with a theme? An Alice in Wonderland nursery would look simply magical and could even spark an early interest in your child in books and stories. It doesn’t have to be crazy and colourful either; a neutral room with drawings of Alice and the White rabbit on the walls would work.
  • Wall art can look amazing, so why not have your baby’s name on the wall just above their crib? You can use all kinds of things to create this yourself, including colourful tissue paper to make a cool floral affect. They may even be able to write their name before the other kids in their class due to seeing it regularly!
  • Different shaped/coloured photo frames can look amazing when all arranged together on a wall. They can have any pictures you like in them too, from photos of loved ones to hand drawn pictures.

What do you think of these ideas for your baby’s nursery? Be sure to leave a comment!

 

5 Things A Mum Can Do With Her Children During The School Holidays

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Are you starting to get nervous at the prospect of entertaining your children for six weeks during the summer break? You are not alone; parents all over the country are bracing themselves for weeks of endless activities with their children.

Here are some suggestions for things a mum can do with her children to keep them happy on a daily basis. If you are that mum, treat this as your bible for the holidays, it could help you hang on to your sanity.

The park

Parks are underused facilities when you consider what they have to offer. They give wide open spaces for the kids to run around and burn off energy, there is some great play equipment, and most of all they are free. Make a trip to the park part of your daily routine.

The Swimming Baths

Kids love the water, so make a visit to the swimming baths a weekly event. There is one in most big towns, and it does not cost a lot of money. The little ones will be happy to play in there until they can stand the cold no longer, which could take a couple of hours.

Day Trips

Once or twice during the summer, take them on a trip to the seaside or to a theme park. As an island nation, we all live within a couple of hour’s drive of the beach. The will probably be expensive, but cut down on the money you spend there by taking your own pre-prepared food.

Crafts

There will come a time when the weather forces you all to stay in the house. It is a perfect time to dig out all of the crafting materials that you have gathered over the years. Why not try something new this year? Decorate a ceramic plant pot with glass beads. Simply stick them on with some glue gun sticks. The glue cools very quickly so they can cover the container in under an hour. That idea isn’t suitable for very young children, only those who are over ten years old.

Younger children are happy to craft with paper and safety scissors. They can make paper chains, or snowflakes. The snowflake is made by folding a circular piece of paper into four, and then cutting shapes out of the edges. When they open it up, the cut-outs become symmetrical, making intricate patterns.

Go On Holiday

Use one or two weeks up by going on holiday. If you can only afford a caravan by the seaside, the children will love it. They love to get away on adventures, no matter how plain the accommodation may be. What appears as a run down seaside town to us looks magical to them, it is all in the eye of the beholder, as they say.

Even if the holiday seems to pass at a snail’s pace, you will reap rewards from your hard work. Your little darlings will expect the same next year now that you have set a precedent, but that is a long way off. For now, put your feet up and have a well earned rest.

A Comprehensive Guide to Becoming an Emergency Foster Carer

When children have to enter the foster care system, they are often traumatised, scared, and confused. The first foster parents that care for a child in this situation are referred to as short term emergency foster carers, and it’s important that they’re well equipped to deal with the children that could come into their care temporarily. Foster parents are carefully screened by foster agencies, so if you want to become an emergency short term foster parent read this guide for help:

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Image taken from Flickr

Call your department of social services and request information on emergency fostering. You’ll be able to find the information online on DirectGov.co.uk too, so read up on it.

The foster carer’s role is to provide high quality care for a child. You may be required to work with therapists, teachers, and doctors to help children deal with any emotional trauma or disabilities too.

A wide range of people are needed to care for foster children as children have very different needs. You’ll need to be willing to understand a child’s heritage, ethnic origin, culture, and language. You can become a carer from any type of background. You don’t need to be married either; you can be single, divorced, or living with a partner. Gay men and lesbians can become foster carers too. Providing you have a good support network and in good health, you should be fine to become an emergency foster carer no matter your age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Preparation and Training

People who want to become any kind of foster carer need to go through preparation and an assessment. Usually, this is what you can expect:

  • Having to attend groups where you’ll learn about the needs of children coming into foster care.
  • Visits from a social worker.
  • A social worker will then prepare a report which will be presented to an independent fostering panel, which recommends whether you can become a foster carer.
  • You should expect an annual review and training to ensure you’re still fit to be a foster carer.

Payment

  • All foster carers are given an allowance which should cover the cost of caring for the child in their home.
  • If working for an agency, this amount will be set by them.
  • Fostering is now being seen as a more ‘professional’ role, and a lot of local authorities are running schemes, which pay carers a fee. This is sometimes linked to the child’s needs, but also a reflection of the skills, experience, and expertise of the foster carer.
  • Foster carers also get tax relief on up to £10,000 of their earnings, plus allowances.

However, if you’re considering doing this for the money then you’d be best off finding another job. You should foster children because you want to help, certainly not for the money.

If you like the sound of becoming a foster carer, then you need to take the first step and contact your local fostering agency. You can also join forums like the Fostering Information Exchange Network to share knowledge with other foster carers. Good luck!

How to Spot Depression in Your Child

If you were going to describe the standard teenager, you might say ‘moody’. Teenagers seem to feel things way more intensely than us adults, and experience exhilarating emotional highs with crashing lows. However, being depressed is a different matter altogether. It isn’t just about being moody – it’s a mood disorder, and a serious mental health condition. People often think that teens can’t get mood disorders like depression and bipolar, but the sad truth is that they can. If you’d like to be able to spot depression in your child, read on:

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Image taken from flickr

The fact of the matter is, the average age of depression is 14 year old. By the end of their teen years, around 20% of teens will have depression. Over 70% of teens with depression will be able to overcome it with therapy and medication, so it’s important that it’s addressed.

The following are some of the symptoms to look out for when looking for depression. If these symptoms last a couple of weeks or more, it could be depression:

  • Writing about death, giving away their belongings, and comments similar to ‘you’re better off without me’.
  • Complaints of physical pain.
  • Poor performance at school or college.
  • Critical comments about themselves and behaviour problems.
  • Loss of energy, social withdrawal, boredom, and withdrawal from their usual activities.
  • Slowness, physical agitation, pacing back and forth or repetitive behaviour.
  • Excessive late night activity, too much/too little sleep, trouble getting up in the morning.
  • Weight gain or weight loss.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Irritable, sad, empty moods and the belief that life is meaningless.

Now, try not to worry too much if your child is displaying the above behaviour. Much of the behaviour above can be considered normal for a teen. If you suspect your teen may have depression or bipolar, then you need to take them to see a health or mental health professional to be sure.

This condition commonly runs in families, and may be triggered by a stressful life event. This isn’t something to be ashamed of, it should simply be treated as soon as possible. Take a look at this site for more useful information on depression in teens.

Some of the effects of teen depression include:

  • Problems at school.
  • Running away from home.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Low self esteem.
  • Internet addiction.
  • Reckless behaviour.
  • Violence.

Warning Signs to Look Out for:

  • Talking or making jokes about suicide.
  • Saying things like, ‘there’s no way out’ and, ‘I’d be better off dead’.
  • Writing stories or songs about death, dying, or suicide.
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family for the last time.
  • Looking for weapons/pills.

If you suspect your teen may be depressed, you need to speak up right away. Even if you’re unsure, whatever the issue is, it needs to be addressed. Make sure you share your concerns with your teen in a loving, non-judgmental way, and let them know why things are worrying you. Encourage them to share what they’re going through. Always trust your instincts, even if your teen claims that nothing is wrong…denial is a strong emotion.

Thanks for reading!

Does Your Son Or Daughter Want To Drive A Car? Read This Now!

Every parent will inevitably have to deal with their offspring’s request to learn to drive and their wishes to pass their driving tests. It is not a subject that some parents like to deal with, especially those that are overly protective of their children!

But as they approach 17, they will doubtless be thinking about the freedom having their own car will bring them, as well as the number of opportunities that will be open to them. For example, employers are far more likely to take on youngsters at their companies if they have full, clean driving licences.

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If your son or daughter has decided that they want to start learning to drive, here are a few hints and tips to help make your journey (excuse the pun) a more bearable one!

Get your child to apply for a driving licence

The first thing that anyone needs to do being taught how to drive on public roads is to apply for a provisional licence. As long as your child is at least 15 ¾ years old, they will be able to apply.

However, the only caveat is that they can’t get behind the wheel of a car until their 17th birthday, so it’s probably easier just to wait until then before applying for a provisional licence.

Find an approved driving instructor

Assuming that your son or daughter is at least 17 years of age, it is now time to find them an approved driving instructor.

Just like how those learning to drive need to pass tests, approved driving instructors have to pass a rigorous set of tests in order for them to be qualified for teaching others how to drive.

Alternatively, you could teach them how to drive yourself, as long as you are over 21, hold a full driving licence for the vehicle they want to learn in, and both you and your offspring are insured to drive your car.

I would recommend getting a qualified approved driving instructor to teach your child how to drive, as they won’t pick up any of your bad habits nor are you likely to “fall out” with each other.

Take the theory test

Once your offspring has had some experience on the road and has done a lot of studying (for example, reading the Highway Code), it is time to put them forward for their theory test!

Their driving instructor will be the best judge of determining when your son or daughter is ready to take their theory test, but if the instructor tells you that they are now ready to be put forward, don’t hesitate to book theory test today!

Take the practical test

Assuming that your child has passed their theory test with flying colours and their instructor feels that they have enough experience on the road to tackle the practical test, it will then be time to put them forward in it!

If your son or daughter is comfortable driving their instructor’s car, they will normally be able to take their practical test in it rather than in someone else’s car.

 

From Hampers to Champers: Unique and Thoughtful New Baby Gifts

Often, we get stuck in a present-giving rut. When our friends and loved ones are welcomed into the delight (and horror) of parenthood, we want to commemorate their new journey with a token of our love. The thing is, the gifts that are available for new babies can be a little, well, dull. If you want a thoughtful gift for the new parents that is a little different from the usual plethora of photo frames and stuffed toys, then look no further:

Hampers

Baby gift hampers are always a welcome help for new parents, particularly those that are brand new parents for the first time. Think about all the things that new parents need, and are likely to run out off. You can tailor the hamper to suit the sex of the baby, or the interests of the new parents for a truly unique twist on a new baby gift. So many parents have experienced the stress of running out of wet wipes at three in the morning or using the last of the nappy rash cream on a Bank Holiday when the shops are shut for two days. Think about all the things that you run out of regularly as a parent and buy accordingly. Not only is it thoughtful, but the parents will love you as they can avoid maximum stress with their new baby ‘survival kit’.

 Champagne

While the baby cannot indulge in the bubbles, the new parents can. So many people get wrapped in buying the new baby gifts that we often overlook the parents in all of this.  After all, new mummy has done all the hard work for the last nine months and she is not even reaping the rewards! Reward both mum and dad for their hard work and allow them to celebrate their new bundle of joy with a good, quality bottle of champers. Who wouldn’t like to receive a gift of bubbles, regardless of the occasion? Just ensure that the whole bottle is consumed in one sitting, or there may be fights over who is doing the night feed with a hangover!

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 Vintage Baby Gifts

If you are struggling what to buy the baby, then take a look at the plethora of vintage websites, and handmade websites that are plastered all over the internet. With a vast array of vintage gifts to give to the new baby you will be spoilt for choice. Take a look at silver dummies, old style lace shawls and personalised wooden toys. There truly is something for everyone, regardless of their love of all things twee.

 Personalised Gifts

Personalised gifts are the perfect way to show the new family that you care. Personalised gifts are an excellent way of showing how much thought you have put into their gifts. You will win serious brownie points with the parents with a gift like this. Think personalised children’s story books, personalised door signs as well as comforters, dummies, wooden keepsakes, dressing gowns and so much more. It truly is the gift with a definite personal touch.

4 Common Operations A Parent Might Need After The Age Of 50

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Flickr photograph

Nobody like to dwell on the fact that we’re all getting older, but sometimes it’s good to take a look at some of the most common health issues faced to prepare ourselves for what’s in store. Luckily, most people manage to drift through life without anything substantial occurring, but there are still a lot of minor problems we might encounter in the future. With this in mind, today I’m going to give you some basic information about 4 of the most common operations a parent might need to endure after the age of 50. Like it or not, our bodies do start to deteriorate around this time, and you’ll be far more relaxed if you know what’s coming.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to scare you, and you may be lucky enough to never have to go under the knife to keep your health. I just want to put the information out there in the hope of educating people who are interested. So, give me your full concentration, and we’ll get started…

Knee Replacement

Although doctors and fitness experts tell you that exercising regularly is a good idea (and they’re right), this does take a heavy toll on your joints, which is why so many people end up having to undergo a knee replacement at some point during their 50s and 60s. Don’t stress too much though. While this might have been a major operation in the past, advancements in procedures and prosthetics have made it far less complex, and so far fewer complications occur.

Hip Replacement

This operation is slightly more complex, and so you’ll have to take it easy for a long time if your doctor recommends you need a new hip. My grandmother actually underwent this procedure a few years ago, and although she recovered perfectly, she was unable to walk or get out of bed for around ten weeks. Considering this, you’ll definitely want to make lots of preparations before going under the knife, as your family will need to rally round to ensure you’re okay.

Cataracts Removal

When you reach a certain age, your eyes will also begin to cause you problems. Most people just wake up one morning with blurry vision, and this then starts to become worse over the course of a few weeks. If you notice this happening to you, it’s vital that you consult a doctor at the earliest possible opportunity, as there is a chance the issue can be dealt with without the need for an operation if you catch it early enough.

Varicose Veins Removal

You’ve probably noticed that some mature people have veins that stick out a little more than most of us. This is a condition known as varicose veins, and it affects around 1 in 6 people at some point in their lives. It’s never a good idea to travel on an aeroplane if you suffer from this, and the operation to have them removed could knock you off your feet for a few days, but other than that it’s nothing to worry about.

So, having read about some of the most common operations parents over the age of 50 might have to endure, you should be better prepared for any eventuality.

See you soon!

 

 

The Top Secret Delights for a Busy Mum Taking a Break

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Every Mum in the world knows that the time they have to themselves is incredibly precious. This is why it is always a great idea to have some ideas to hand for any chances you get to do something pleasant. The following are some of my top secret delights.  

Play Some Bingo

I remember that when my Mum used to play bingo it was a huge social event for her. She would get her hair done, look out her best clothes and have a huge smile on her face. I was always interested in seeing what her bingo hall was like but when I finally went once I left a bit disappointed. Thankfully, the option to play some bingo on the internet now lets me enjoy the same sort of fun my Mum had without leaving home.  I probably even spend less money than she did, as I always play free bingo at gamevillage.com. I haven’t yet enjoyed a big win but for the very little money I have spent it is working out to be an incredibly cheap hobby. I recently started playing on my mobile phone as well, so I can grab a few minutes wherever I am able to get some action.

Watch a DVD

When I lived alone I used to watch films all the time. Once the family came along I had to stop this hobby for a while. Now, I always have one or two DVDs tucked away waiting for the chance to watch them. Just last night I settled down with The Book Thief after everyone else was tucked up in bed. It meant a later night than usual but it was worth it to see a magical movie and have some quality time on my own. If you haven’t had time to watch a DVD in the last few months then you should make the time to do so. It is a perfect way to transport yourself to a different world and forward about the stresses and strains of family life for a while.

Looking at Photos

If there is one thing which might be even better than the other two I’ve already mentioned it is looking at old photos of our family. At the moment, we have a mixture of old printed photos and digital ones. I’ve been scanning the old ones and then putting them all onto a cloud storage site. It really is amazing to look back at these old pictures and see how much the kids have changed in a relatively short period of time. Some of the pictures can instantly transport me back in time just by looking at them. There are some from our first ever family holiday at the seaside and I can almost taste the salt in my mouth and feel the sun on my back when I look at them. Sifting through these priceless images also gives me a wonderful incentive to keep on taking more family snaps in the future.