Sacrewell Farm’s New Mascot

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A farm near Peterborough has a new mascot, thanks to the creative talents of its young visitors.

Over half-term, children visiting the farm were asked to design a new mascot for the farm which will then be developed to become to farm’s new children’s mascot when it rebrands in the summer.

With more than 100 entries it was difficult decision, but in the end it was a colourful peacock that came out tops.

 Mia-mascot winner

The mascot was designed by six-year-old Mia Barham from Market Deeping who visits the farm regularly with her family.

Mia said: “I chose to draw a peacock because one let me stroke it once and they are my favourite animals ever.”

Mum, Kate, added: “They are the first thing she looks for when she comes into the farm.

“She has always loved drawing. She drew her first picture before she was two and it was a smiley face with arms and legs. I still have it on the fridge.”

Mia is a pupil at Linchfield Primary School in Deeping St James and was at school when she found out she had won. Her prize was a family annual pass to the farm so that she can see her mascot as it is developed by a professional graphic designer.

She said: “I was very excited. I went and told my teacher straight away. I thought I could come and see a peacocks anytime now.”

When the mascot has been developed, he will appear on all children’s interpretation boards at the farm. The farm is rebranding as part of its Heritage Lottery Funded Watermill Project.

Marketing and communications executive Megan Horner said: “We were delighted with Mia’s entry and can’t wait to see how her peacock is developed.

“We had a lot of votes for peacocks. We have six male birds here at the farm and they are definitely one of our most popular animals. Thank you to everyone who entered.”

Nana’s Knickers – Review

Having been an avid book reader since I was a wee lass, I’m very pleased that T is taking after me with her love of books. With her starting school in September (eek) we have been getting into the habit of reading books each day before bed to try and get her used to it.

When we were contacted by Nico Russell on Twitter @BlueFluffBooks with a view to reviewing his self published book “Nana’s Knickers” of course we jumped at it!

The very first thing that jumped out at me was the illustrations by Charlie Meyer, A4 pages full of colour and details. Even on the fourth time round T was finding new little things (the little mouse was a particular favourite). The font was especially chosen to help young children who are learning letter shapes and the plain backgrounds were painted yellow so those with dyslexia could see the text more clearly.

The book takes the reader on an amusing adventure as Nana wakes up and can’t find her favourite pair of knickers.  The tables are turned as her grandchildren advise her to retrace her steps (how many times have we as parent’s said that!) until Nana finds her frilly knickers! The words have a wonderful lilt and rhyme to them.

Nico wrote the book due to his unceasing appetite of his niece and nephew for new stories.  The process took two years and despite receiving tremendous feedback from schools and children, he has entirely self funded the book as publishing houses were unwilling to take a risk on a new author, despite him being the youngest ever winner of the National Poetry Competition in 2012.

This makes me sad.  How many other wonderful books are out there unread because publishers don’t want to take a risk? What if an author doesn’t have the option to go self funded?

Nana’s Knickers can be ordered at Blue Fluff Books for £5.99 (plus p+p) or a signed copy for £6.50 (plus p+p) – http://bluefluffbooks.com/

 

 

 

Mumsnet calls for manifesto commitment on better miscarriage care

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Half of women who miscarry wait 24 hours or more for a scan, and are treated alongside women with healthy pregnancies 

Mumsnet calls for manifesto commitment on better miscarriage care

Mumsnet, the UK’s biggest website for parents, is today publishing the results of a survey into patients’ care and experiences following miscarriage. Around a quarter of a million women miscarry in the UK each year (1) – about one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage – but the statistics published today show that the treatment and support women receive fails to meet their needs or measure up to official national guidelines.

A survey of over one thousand women (2) shows:

  • Half (46%) had to wait over 24 hours for a scan to determine if their baby was still alive, with one in five (18%) waiting longer than three days “When I asked how much longer it would be, I was told I was taking up their time.” A Mumsnet user

  • Half (47%) were treated alongside women with ongoing pregnancies “I sat with other ladies who were still pregnant and waiting for scans… seeing their happy faces tore me apart.” A Mumsnet user

  • A third (31%) of those who miscarried at home following a scan were not offered any pain relief, or adequate pain relief “I was under the impression that miscarrying at home was the easy option. It certainly is not easy. I have been in agony.” A Mumsnet user

  • 58% of respondents wanted counselling, but only 12% were offered it “I had to wait six months to get counselling and lost six months of my life as I was not   coping with the loss.” A Mumsnet user

  • 56% of respondents wanted further medical care but only 26% were offered it “The hospital said they’d ask a health visitor to contact me. That was two months ago; nobody has been in touch.” A Mumsnet user

  • Only a quarter (23%) spoke of their experience to friends, and only 13% told wider family “When I felt ready to talk, I didn’t have anyone ready to listen.”  A Mumsnet user

In 2012, NICE guidance on the management of miscarriage stated that miscarrying at home (known as ‘expectant management’) would be the default clinical response for women undergoing miscarriage before the 13th week of pregnancy, but today’s results show this policy is leaving women without the support they need.

  • Only 15% of women who miscarried at home following a scan felt they had the right support, information and pain relief to manage “I was told, over the phone, to ‘just sit on the toilet and hopefully it will all come out’.”

  • 11 people were asked to store their foetus at home prior to further tests on the embryo “[I don’t want to] catch my miscarried embryo in a urine sample pot at home, keep it in the fridge overnight if necessary, then take it on the train (two hours) for genetic testing.”

Mumsnet users have developed a five-point Miscarriage Code of Care, which calls for straightforward improvements in the treatment parents receive:

1. Supportive staff

2. Access to scanning

3. Safe and appropriate places for treatment

4. Good information and effective treatment

5. Joined-up care

Many of the Code’s points are included in best-practice guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Department of Health, but the research shows that, too often, this guidance is not being implemented.

Mumsnet is now asking the Secretary of State for Health, the shadow Health Minister and the junior Health Minister to commit to improving miscarriage care during the lifetime of the next parliament.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Founder, said:

“There’s no escaping the pain of a miscarriage, but for this to be compounded by lack of treatment, pain relief, good care or just plain human kindness is completely unacceptable. We are calling on the three main parties to include a pledge in their manifestos to improve miscarriage care, based on the principles in our code.”

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said:

“The Royal College of Midwives welcomes and supports the Mumsnet code of care which aims to improve care for women at a very difficult time. Midwives and other health professionals have an important role to play in supporting women and families through the physical and psychological impact of miscarriage. Kind, compassionate and empathetic communication around care and treatment is an essential step to support families. It is particularly important that there is effective communication between the hospital, GP and midwife to provide ongoing support or advice, as needed.”

Jane Brewin, Chief Executive of Tommy’s, said:

“Losing a baby is a devastating experience and our helpline hears from people every day who are struggling to make sense of what has happened to them and why. More research is needed to help us understand the causes of miscarriage so we can develop treatments that help save babies’ lives. We want families to know that they are not alone and that Tommy’s helpline is here to support anyone who has been through this heartbreak.”

Susan Seenan, Chief Executive of the national charity Infertility Network UK, said:

“Miscarriage is an extremely distressing, and often frightening experience and sadly even health professionals can underestimate the impact which a miscarriage can have.  Good support and access to counselling from sensitive trained staff who understand the emotional as well as the physical effect of miscarriage on both women and their partners can make an enormous difference to those dealing with the grief of losing a baby.  We hope that this campaign will lead to better care and support for everyone affected by what can be a hugely traumatic experience.”

Guest Post For Fathers Day ‘A Difficult Birth; a Dad’s Perspective’ by Mark Bullows

I have had seven babies in total, only one of them was a normal birth. My eldest was diagnosed with a heart condition during pregnancy. Of the five I’ve had with Claire (may partner) we lost our first due to prematurity and then went on to have four more premature births with Claire spending much of her pregnancies threatening to go into labour.

 There are three that really stand out on the subject of a dad’s perspective, my eldest son with his heart condition, my eldest surviving baby with Claire, and our youngest daughter who was Claire’s VBA2C (that’s vaginal birth after two sections). 

 When my first wife was 20 weeks pregnant with our first baby we went along for the scan – excited expectant parents like everyone else. Then we had that classic silent moment, where you know something is wrong. We went round to see my wife’s consultant and he explained that they thought they had found something wrong with the heart. He told us that there wasn’t anything we could do until the birth but they would run tests to investigate the extent of the problem. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, the hospitals looking after my wife and baby couldn’t do enough to make sure we were fully informed, answered every question we had. At 38 weeks they induced my wife, scheduled a theatre and had an ambulance on standby. When our son was born she had enough time to look at him before he was rushed off. I followed behind and got to the hospital with enough time to have some paperwork thrust at me to sign before he was taken into theatre. When they brought my son out of theatre and I got to see him properly for the first time I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: he was covered in tubes and wires. Despite how awful it all was, we felt prepared and were able to cope with it. I really have nothing but praise for the hospitals.

Three babies later and despite what we’ve been through, me with my son and losing our first daughter, Claire and I were happy expecting another daughter. She had an easy pregnancy and we had no reason to think anything would go wrong. As she got to the late 20s Claire had started to track her Braxton Hicks. She didn’t get them often but they were quite strong and regular when she did. She even had an overnight stay because of them. So at 31 weeks when Claire went off to B&Q with her dad and a notebook and pen to write her Braxton Hicks in, we didn’t really think much of it. After an hour I got a call saying to get myself ready and be waiting with her green notes.

Claire had had a scan that morning and had been having contractions during the scan which staff said were nothing to be concerned about, so we did not think they’d be too worried. They sent us around to the waiting room and gave her a sample pot. After Claire cried out during a contraction, one of the midwives came around and said “was that your pain?” and she got us straight into a delivery room. Even strapped onto the monitor, with a drip set up to stop the contractions and steroids already administered we didn’t think anything would come of it. We were laughing together, I’ve never been forgiven for coming back from the shop with a coat full of chocolate and drink and opening it as (Claire describes) like a dodgy watch salesman and asking if she wanted anything followed by “Oh you can’t can you? You’re nil-by-mouth!”

After an hour the doctor came back to examine Claire to see if anything had changed. He just calmly said “we need to get this baby out now” and suddenly the room was full of people. Claire had her nail varnish cleaned, her jewellery removed, her drip capped off, three consent forms explained to her which she had to sign and her clothes changed for theatre, all at the same time. Neither of us really knew what was going on and, as it was a crash and she was having a general anaesthetic, all I could do was sit outside with her mum. I saw our daughter in passing as she was wheeled past on her way to the neonatal unit. They took a long time to do the operation and Claire took a long time to come round but no one explained what was happening or why things had gone like they did. Really my son’s birth should have been the hardest of the two, but the lack of information in this one made it the hardest.

Claire went on to have another section under similar circumstances but slower and things felt better having already been there.

Then Claire got pregnant again and she decided as it would be her last she was going to get a Doula and she would try VBAC. The team that Claire was under were brilliant, they were very supportive and came up with a plan that we were all happy with. We met some lovely people along the way who agreed with our decision and Claire felt confident going into the birth. Sadly on the day we had a team who were determined she wasn’t going to get the birth she wanted. There was a lot of shouting, they forced her into stirrups which she knew was bad for her because she has pelvic issues. The midwife and doula tried to stop them but they were yelling at me to hold my wife still. It’s very difficult as a man when you see the woman you love in distress but being told by medical staff that you need to do something that is going to make her worse. I wish I had understood better before the birth why she kept saying “Mark, remember, stirrups bad” because for a long time it has been a source of guilt for me, even though Claire says it’s unnecessary. Our daughter was born APGAR 9, pink and screaming after 6 minutes of unaided pushing.

I know I could have done things differently to support Claire better and I think that would have helped how I felt afterwards, so here is my advice to expectant dads:

 1. Take an interest, there’s a good chance she knows why she is saying what she’s wants.

2. Memorise her birth plan, get her to tell you what is non-negotiable, what you need to know about any health issues.

3. If you can, get a doula, as they’re an extra brain to remember these things and it’s their speciality anyway so it comes naturally to them. If you do get a doula, attend antenatal sessions with her too, you can work as an amazing team to support your partner if you do.

4. Don’t be scared to question the staff, if there genuinely is no time you will know it, but make sure they explain to you both afterwards. Don’t be scared to tell them no either, practice your best authoritative voice saying “She said no. She does not consent to that!” It is always the mother’s word that goes, even in birth and if she doesn’t want something done to her that’s her decision.

I learnt a little acronym that helps: TBRAINS

  • Time/ Talk: do we have time/ can we talk?
  • Benefits: why do you want to do this?
  • Risks: what could happen if you do that?
  • Alternatives: what else can you do?
  • Instinct: what does my instinct tell me (or hers, she even has the say over you, sorry)?
  • Nothing: what if we do nothing and just wait to see what happens?
  • Smile! It’ll help keep you calm, the staff are more likely to listen to you and calmness is good for a birthing mother as adrenaline can complicate the labour.

I highly recommend antenatal classes too. Claire dragged me to one when she was expecting our youngest. I’ve had 6 babies before, what can I learn from an antenatal class? Actually I found it really useful.

The last thing to remember, debrief afterwards, especially if the birth was particularly difficult. Whether that’s down the pub with your mates, your Doula, or you make an appointment to see a Supervisor of Midwives (amazing people, if doc says no, ask the SoM!) Don’t try to hide it from your partner either, you are in it together not separately, you don’t have to be strong for her, you need to be with her.

Support group links

Birth Trauma Association – http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/weblinks.htm

Living with Ménière’s Disease

Never heard of it? Neither had I 18 months ago, it is a “silent” disease. Now it’s a daily presence in my life.

The Ménière’s Society (http://www.menieres.org.uk/) describes it as “a long term, progressive condition affecting the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. Symptoms are acute attacks of vertigo (severe dizziness), fluctuating tinnitus, increasing deafness, and a feeling of pressure in the ear. The incidence is between 1:1000 and 1:2000 of the population; depending on the source. Both sexes are equally affected and it can occur at any age. About 7-10% of sufferers have a family history of the disease.”

  • Ever been swimming and had the feeling you have water in your ear you can’t shake? That’s what I have every day. Some days it’s so bad it feels like my head is leaning to one side with the weight.
  • Ever got up from sitting down and felt dizzy? Had one too many drinks and the room wobbles? In the midst of an attack that’s what it feels like permanently. Add to that a hangover style headache and you’re there.
  • Had ringing in the ear when you’ve had your MP3 player too loud? Yep once again pretty much every day, varying degrees depending on where in the cycle I am. Sometimes so bad I want to claw my ear off. Thank god for audio books at night to distract me! Ménière’s causes damage to the hair receptors in the inner ear.
  • Increasing deafness. I am that annoying person who says “Pardon” pretty much at least once a conversation. See me turning my head so my left side is facing you? That’s because the right has a “moderate to severe hearing loss” It is believed this is caused by an increase in pressure in the endolymphatic space.

No-one knows what causes it.  Mine came on suddenly.  I had been feeling a bit dizzy on and off for a few days. Suddenly I was sat at my desk and felt sick, next thing I knew I couldn’t even lift my head off the toilet seat or even open my eyes I was that dizzy.  Work ended up calling an ambulance as I couldn’t move. *Embarrasing*

It took me 18 months from that day to get a diagnosis with attacks averaging every couple of months.

Symptoms vary for each sufferer. The main symptoms are unpredictable attacks of vertigo with nausea and vomiting. Attacks can last from a few minutes to 24 hours. There may also be tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.  Usually only one ear is affected (in my case the right), but up to 50% of sufferers may develop the condition in both ears.

My symptoms are a feeling of pressure in my ear which steadily gets worse, along with “louder” tinnitus. Followed by increasing dizzy spells finally culminating in a severe headache and not being able to walk in a straight line.  Strangely once I vomit the symptoms abate within hours.

There is no known cure for Ménière’s. I have anit-vertigo and “travel sickness” tablets that I carry round with me permanently. The hearing loss is too far gone in my case so inevitably I will end up with a hearing aid.  When I was first told this I had visions of the massive hearing aids that you used to see elderly men wear, but I am reliably informed they are a lot smaller now!

hearing_aid

 

For more information on Ménière’s contact the Ménière’s Society http://www.menieres.org.uk/

Hearing aid picture from www.csrinaction.org

 

 

Feature – Millfield Autos

I would think it’s pretty safe to say that most car owners in Peterborough have at one time or another popped into Millfield Autos. A veritable treasure trove for amateur mechanics and car geeks.

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The History behind the store 

Husseinaly Jessa Damani set up the store along with his two brothers Hassan and Hyder in 1985. They are still in the original building nearly 30 years later. Sadly in 2010 General Manager Husseinaly Jessa Damani passed away, as a recognition of his legacy his family was presented with the Pride of Peterborough Award in 2012.

They are now an established retailer offering a wide selection of car parts and accessories throughout Cambridgeshire. They also offer delivery to over 1500 garages in the greater Peterborough area going as far as Spalding, Huntingdon and Godmanchester.

With over 1,200 likes on Facebook and 360+ followers on Twitter, MAP are using social media to it’s full potential in engaging with customers.

Currently over 700 retail customers are signed up to the website to receive personalised emails which are used to send out in store offers and info. They also receive up to 12 different vouchers to be used in store.

They have also created their own winter checklist for customers who want to ensure they are safe in winter. The downloadable PDF can be found here http://www.millfieldautoparts.co.uk/winter-checklist-2013/