Friday, 20 January 2017

Start Rite

Three years ago the Little Man was invited to walk the catwalk in a pair of Start Rite Shoes. You can see him here in this little video.

It's so hard to believe it's been three years already!

We have always been big fans of Start Rite shoes and I'd like to take a moment to tell you about their fabulous sale they have on right now.

That's right, up to 70% off!

How about these Spider Snow, Navy Blue Boots which have been reduced from £29 to just £15. I bet these will keep those little feet warm in the bad weather.

Or These gorgeous Gallop, Black Leather Girls Boots with the amazing reduction from £69 to just

Maybe it's a new pair of school shoes that's needed. These Rotate, Black Boys Riptape school shoes have been reduced from £42 to £12.50.

Or for girls, These Princess Serena, Black Leather shoes reduced from £47 to just £14.

Or for the toddlers in your life, I love these Soft Lily Purple leather rip tape boots now half price, reduced from £40 to £20.

And for the boys these Flexy-Soft Milan, Green Boys Riptape shoes at £15, reduced from £41.

Start rite also offer fitting guides to buy, you find all the detailed instruction on how to use them on the site. 

  • Start-rite have 220 years of experience and expertise.
  • Quality, durable and stylish fitted footwear.
  • Start-rite have a choice of shoes for every occasion!
  • Standard delivery is only £2.99 with free returns.
  • Start-rite are there for every step.

  • Thank you for reading my suggestions on these kids shoes, I hope you have found it interesting or useful. I have used affiliate links in my post so I will be rewarded for your click throughs but it will not make any difference to you, your choices or purchases. If you wish to visit the site without my credit then please just use this link.

    Thursday, 19 January 2017

    Hospital - Word of the Week

    Could it be anything else really seeing as I've been there every day!

    Each day I've gone to the day treatment room and hooked up to a drip for my IV steroids. It's not so bad really, it takes half an hour or so once I'm on and the radio is there for company. The chairs are reclining and cosy and the whole procedure is not so bad at all. My arm throbs while it takes place but it's not unbearable. It leaves a horrid taste in my mouth but a couple of mints helps with that.

    The worst part has been actually getting there and getting home. We have to go straight from picking the kids up from school and so they have to come with us because there is no time to drop them off anywhere. They have been really good but it's cost us a fortune in the snack shop! Coming home we hit rush hour traffic so by the time we get back we are rushing to get the kids fed and ready for bed.

    Thank fully we have managed an earlier appointment for the latter part of the week which has been really helpful.

    Side affects have been insomnia, I can go to sleep okay but I'm waking up really early and not being able to get back off again. Then I've felt tired all day. My blood sugar has been high and my blood pressure has risen but I'm coping alright with that. I've have been feeling a little nauseous but nothing too bad, I've not eaten very much this week.

    As for results, it is early days yet and I still have more months of oral steroids to take. I'm keeping hopeful that they will work.

    The Reading Residence

    The Bus Debate - Wheelchair Versus Pushchair.

    This week we heard of the results of a four year hearing on a policy for disabled wheelchair users on buses. It has been ruled that bus drivers will have to do more to accommodate wheelchair users over pushchair users.

    This does not mean that drivers have the right to throw anyone off the bus, but they can demand, rather than request a mother with a pushchair to move from a disabled spot.

    This does have many implications and I have seen them from both points.

    Let me begin with a story I have dating back 27 years ago. I had a small baby in a pushchair, but back then it was a requirement that pushchairs were folded before you even got on a bus. There were no spaces for them. It wasn't easy, especially having your buggy already folded and baby in arms before the bus arrived, or rushing to do it if the bus was already there. Sometimes there would be someone helpful around that would give you a hand, most of the time you had to get on with it. It wasn't easy, but there was no other option.  So, I'm waiting for the bus with my buggy folded, my baby in my arms and I was also seven and a half months pregnant with my second child. When I struggled on the bus there were no seats, not one person moved for me to sit down with my baby despite me being obviously pregnant. No-one seemed to care, it was my choice to have children I had to put up with it.

    Having pushchair places on buses was a brilliant idea, how convenient to just push on your child and not have to fold up your pushchair, especially if the little one is fast asleep, and you have lots of bags.

    Having wheelchair places is also a brilliant idea. In fact it's impossible for a wheelchair user to get on the bus without this facility.

    But who should have priority?

    Here is another story. Last year I became disabled over night when my spine became damaged by my own auto-immune system. I became wheelchair bound. On a few occasions I have a been refused access onto buses because there has been a wheelchair user already on board. There is nothing that can be done. I have also been refused access because the bus already has pushchairs on board. In fact, I've sat at the bus stop for over an hour while three buses went past with no room for me. It's incredibly frustrating. Particularly when you know that a pushchair can be folded whereas a wheelchair cannot.

    When I have got on a bus and a parent has moved from the designated wheelchair user place most of the time they have been fine about it, however there have been times when I've been scowled at like it's my fault that they have had to move or fold up their buggy.

    I don't enjoy making parents move, I don't enjoy being in a wheelchair. I'd really rather not be.

    The facts is the wheelchair places are prioritised for  wheelchairs and they have more rights to those places than pushchairs.

    I do not think that anyone should be made to get off the bus if they are already on, but if they can fold up their pushchair then they should. This isn't easy, I know I've been there myself. I've also had three children where I've been totally grateful of the bus service allowing pushchairs. I've also been in the position where I've had to fold up my pushchair. I have also offered to get off a stop early because another pushchair wanted to get on and their wasn't room. Sometimes it's a matter of courtesy.  It's also courteous to help a parent that is struggling to fold her pushchair while holding a baby, it's no easy task.

    I do not think that  a wheelchair user should be refused a place on the bus over a pushchair. The places for wheelchair users where campaigned for, they are designated places and it should be more than a matter of courtesy to let a user on.

    I really do not understand the attitude that I've seen from some parents who say they will refuse to move for anyone. I've seen some incredibly hurtful comments about wheelchair users.

    This article from the BBC News gives the arguments from all view points.

    woman with pushchair waiting for a bus

    A wheelchair has no rights to ask a pushchair user to get off the bus but they should fold up their pushchair if they are taking a wheelchair space.

    The driver now has to tell the pushchair user to move for a wheelchair rather than just request it, is this going to cause even more angry parents on the bus, after all, they've paid for their fare too.

    A lot of it is down to courtesy and respect and it should work both ways.

    What are your opinions, do you have a perfect answer or a story to tell?

    My Random Musings

    Tuesday, 17 January 2017

    Chewy Moon Review

    Chewy Moon kids snack box

    I was asked to review a new kind of snack box for kids, Chewy Moon. I have some fussy eaters at home but one thing I am careful about is filling them with sugary sweets and chocolate and so an alternative type of treat is always welcome.

    I was sent a box of 5 snacks and an activity pack. The first thing I noticed was that the packaging was fantastic. It was bright and colourful and filled with lots of interesting and funny information.

    Let me start with the five snacks we received in our box.

    Jack and Berry, in a Space Chimp box. Contains 29g of strawberry shapes, cranberry, blueberry and flapjack. The kids all tried some of these and they were a big hit. My kids do love their fruits and these were a real treat. They rated them 5/5

    Fantasticos, introduced by Loved Up Squirrel. Contains 25g  pizza balls, edamame beans and baked cheese. These were hit an miss with the kids with only Boo liking the baked cheese and the Little Man liking the pizza balls. I love edamame beans so I was happy to finish these off. In fact I loved this pack the best so I'd give it 5/5 but the kids rated it 2/5

    Cherry Cola, with Funny Duck.  Ingredients, 30g of Cola raisins, cherry, cranberry. Funny Duck was a big hit and the kids favourite character. As they love raisins the kids really enjoyed the extra sweet and sticky cola raisins (Despite them not actually liking cola) the cranberries were also a hit but the cherries not so by Star. They rated them 4/5

    Happy BBQ with Teo Moon. Ingredients  24g Smokey almonds, smokey coconut pecks. The kids are not big fans of nuts and would not even try the almonds. Their older brother really liked them though and Boo finished off the coconut pecks. Rating 1/5 but only because they don't like almonds.

    Freaky Fruits with Dr Fluffy. Ingredients 30g Blackcurrant drops, apricot sticks, cherry cubes, peach cubes, raspberry strips. Another fruity treat and another big hit with kids. They rated it 5/5

    As you can see, some of the packs were a big success and some not so, but if you sign up to Chewy Moon you can tell them your child's preferences. I'd ask them to omit almonds and edamame beans. I'd just have to buy my own.

    The pack comes with the five snack packs, an nutrition fact sheet for parents so you can see exactly what your child is eating. A comic sheet called Chewy Moon Adventures, A stackable totem toy (that was really easy to put together, no glue or tape required,) a meet the heroes sheet and a brain busting fact card,

    Chewy Moon is a subscription snack box for kids. You can get your first box for only 98p (wow) and future boxes cost £3.95 plus 98p postage. That works out at about 72p per snack which I think is great value and much healthier for your kids. You can cancel your subscription at any time, no commitment.

    The boxes are customised for age, activity level and body type and can be bought for 3 to 12 year olds. When you sign up you give the relevant information for your child along with their preferences. The snack packs are filled with the tastiest and most nutritional snacks as approved by their taste panel of kids. Then the packs are filled with the fun stuff and posted out every week. You can note your favourite snacks online so that you can receive more of the things you like.

    My kids really enjoyed their pack even though they may not have enjoyed every snack enclosed. They are a great alternative to sweet, sugary treats and a little more special that piece of fruit.

    Family Fever

    Disclosure: We were sent a box from Chewy Moon to Review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

    Sunday, 15 January 2017

    The Day My Diagnosis Changed.

    In January last year I was diagnosed with an auto-immune neurological condition, Transverse Myelitis.

    There are a few things that I have learned about neurological conditions.

    • They are difficult to diagnose
    • Everyone is different, even with the same diagnosis
    • Diagnosis can change
    My diagnosis changed on 10th January, one year and 9 days after my first diagnosis. I do not have Transverse Myelitis, I have Stiff Person Syndrome. 

    First, I need to talk about my feelings. At the beginning of this year I was having real trouble with coping. Maybe it was exacerbated with early January being a bad time of year for me anyway but I was feeling down because I know I've not really made much improvement health wise and I had a feeling a new diagnosis was coming up. I'm not a doctor but I've learned from talking about Transverse Myelitis with other sufferers that symptoms do improve in time. You can become more mobile and the pain decreases, but life can carry on. Of course all sufferers do have times when the condition makes life difficult for them, once the damage is done to the spinal cord it cannot be undone. (well, not yet anyway, but soon maybe.) Sufferers are split into three groups, those that recover (Although they still have symptoms) those that partially recover and those that never recover. I've noticed that many in the third group go on to get another diagnosis, the most popular one being Multiple Sclerosis.

    Again, I'm no doctor but it can't be denied that TM is like the beginning of MS, the difference being with TM you don't get damage in the brain and no further attacks occur. BUT, if you do have MS then the attack on the brain can happen after the initial spinal cord attack. So, it makes sense (to me anyway) that someone with TM can go on to get MS and that TM can be the initial attack.  Both conditions are incredible similar, both conditions often take a long time to diagnose.

    I suppose it's fair to say here that I thought my diagnosis was going to be changed to MS. 

    However, despite my 'new' diagnosis being very similar to Transverse Myelitis in the beginning, there are factors which have been taken into consideration that have shown that it isn't.

    So, what is Stiff Person Syndrome? Well, it's another rare condition, lucky me, one in a million! It is an auto-immune condition that can affect the spinal cord, hence the symptoms which mimic TM, pins and needles, spasms, banding, pain etc. However, it can be identified by certain anti-bodies in the blood. 

    I was tested for SPS last year and I thought I was in the clear because I don't have the main anti-body that is present in diagnosis, namely 'anti-GAD.' I also had electrical tests on my muscles and nerves and my consultant has studied the results in detail. He found another anti-body in blood, I don't know which one at the moment, which is an indicator but has only been discovered in last 5 or 6 years. This along with the electrical tests has given me the diagnosis. Plus, the anti-GAD anti-body is only found in around 60% of SPS cases. 

    That's the medical bit out of the way, phew! 

    In general, my experience of Stiff Person Syndrome, apart from the TM similarities mentioned earlier, is the stiffness. Now, that's a surprise isn't it! How could I not have noticed before? Well, another symptom of TM is spasticity where muscles become stiff and tighten, stiffness! I have it in the most common place for SPS, that's the lower part of my trunk. This is why I find it difficult to walk. I also have it in my feet and my toes are permanently turned upwards, I can't curl them down very far at all. 

    What happens next? SPS, is not curable but it can be treated. I may be relieved of some of my pain if the treatment works. I start an intensive course of steroids by IV at the hospital today and for the rest of the week and then continue with oral steroids for three months. Then I go back to my consultant and see if it's made any difference. There is hope that I will feel better after this, but if not then there are other treatments available, even though they are not readily offered. The main objective will be to stop the condition from getting any worse. SPS is a progressive and the stiffness and spasms can increase.

    Here is a description of Stiff Person Syndrome from The Tinman

    Stiff-person syndrome is a combination of symptoms which can include muscle stiffness, rigidity, spasm, muscle overactivity, specific contractions, seizure activity, and heightened response to stimuli resulting in exaggerated startle reflex triggered by noise, touch, or emotional distress. The classic pattern begins with stiffness and rigidity of the axial (skull, spine, and tailbone) muscles and can progress to the limbs. Stiff limb variants first affect primarily the leg muscles, and occasionally the arm muscles.
    If untreated SPS can lead to total body rigidity, that's right, every part of the body, including the face so you can't speak. Thankfully, now that I've been diagnosed the treatment will prevent this happening.

    I'm still coming to terms with the new diagnosis, and at the moment I'm in confusion. Everyone says not to Google but of course you do, some of the sites are not very helpful at all, others focus on the real scary stuff (I've read several medical studies where the patients all die within a year!) I have every confidence in my consultant giving me the best options from now on. He could have just left my diagnosis at TM but he knew something was not quite right and did several tests to find out what was really wrong with me. My future does not have to be grim, just different.

    One in a Million - living with Stiff Person Syndrome

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