Dr Ranj Singh, paediatrician and TV presenter, has been spending a lot of his time underlining the importance of the flu vaccine on offer right now. He goes into a lot of detail in this video explaining the benefits of protecting your child against flu. It is brilliantly explained and after watching, personally I can’t see any reason why I wouldn’t vaccinate my children, please take a look.

Facts about Flu

In an average flu season in England, flu affects up to 10% of children aged 0 – 14 years

Children are the main transmitters of flu and pass the virus on for longer than adults.

For every 10 children who missed school because of flu-associated illness, eight household members subsequently became ill.

In 2013/2014, a total of 904 admissions to intensive care were reported as influenza including 98 deaths.

2014/2015 immunisation

All children aged 2,3 and 4 are being offered a free vaccination at their GP surgeries this winter.

All children aged 5 and 6 and classed as ‘at risk’ are also being offered the same.

flu vaccination

What is Flu?

Flu isn’t just a rotten cold, it can be a serious illness and flu vaccination gives children the best chance of protection from flu and the nasty complications that can be caused by the virus.
The recommended flu vaccine, for most children, is a nasal spray which means no needles will be used.
Protecting our children also protects others, such as the elderly who are particularly vulnerable to diseases such as flu.

Dr Singh said: “We shouldn’t forget that flu can be a potentially deadly disease and if not controlled, can spread fiercely. We are lucky to live in a country where we are actually offered a free comprehensive flu vaccination programme for our children. I fear that, unless people understand the facts, it won’t be until flu affects them personally that they’ll take action in the form of vaccination. I hope that is not the case. We really shouldn’t take that risk with our children when we have a vaccine on offer. Part of this is down to healthcare professionals like me, but also our schools and government to ensure that our community and children are protected.”

Immunisation has played a substantial role in public health, topping the list of greatest achievements in public health in the 20th century. The benefits of immunisation are substantial, not only protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases but also extending to adolescents and adults, providing them with protection against diseases such as influenza. Children are the most likely people to bring flu into the home and the most likely to spread it around.

Top tips for protecting your child from flu

1. Wash your hands with soap and water

2. Reduce the risk of contamination

3. Ensure your child is immunised against flu.

Disclosure: Information and photo credits to Share good times not flu I have been compensated for this post but I do seriously think it is a very important issue and urge all parents to think very carefully and vaccinate their children.

marianne and megan

Today I celebrate my daughter’s 24th birthday, it has given me the perfect excuse to rummage through the photo albums I have in a cupboard. I miss her terribly. She’s happy and that’s a consolation but grrr to living in different countries.

As only mum’s can, I thought I’d share with you some of our time we had growing up together. Be warned it’s photo heavy this week, I hope you enjoy looking through our family snaps.

megan age 4

 

When she was born she was a beautiful baby, I fell in love instantly and was so very proud of her. She was 3,200 k and 51 cms long with a shock of black hair, a doll – I still haven’t stopped hugging her tightly to me.

me and megan 2004

She was a good baby too, ate, slept, and smiled so we had a lot of fun together.

As she grew I came aware of her excellent sense of humour and to this day Megan and I read from the same book, sometimes it doesn’t even need saying out loud, we just know and smile.

Many a snowy afternoon was spent watching favourite Disney films snuggled up together, this was a new camera I had at the time and I was playing with the remote button.

‘Don’t look at the camera Meg and we’ll see what happens.’

me and megan

I feel an incredibly strong bond with her even though we are miles apart. She is the one person I would love to have in my life every single day because we can talk for hours about all sorts of things. Sometimes our opinions differ…

For example at BritMums Live this year, where I was so happy to have her with me, we shared a room so were getting ready together …

Megan: ‘Mum those shoes don’t go with that.’

Me: ‘But I love these shoes, they’re fun and comfortable.’

Megan: ‘They still don’t go. You wear them, I’m just letting you know what I think.’

I changed the shoes.

Megan me and simon calder

So allow me to indulge today readers as I look back on our 24 years together and celebrate being mum to this wonderful lady who makes my heart sing when I hear her voice.

me and megan

megan

megan aged 2 sardegna

M&S SS14 shoes

Megan learning to snowboard

Oh dear – someone’s not very happy ..

megan carnival

and finally something every mum has to do sooner or later – let themselves be made up by their daughter. I don’t think she did too badly for her first time do you?

Happy birthday darling Megan, have a wonderful day, love mamma xxx

make over by Megan age 12

 

Camping le croix du vieux pont sky

Image: The lake at Camping Le Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere, France perfect campsite near EuroDisney.

The sky is always there above us and it’s one factor I always keep in mind when I miss my Italian kids. I remember saying to them years ago, ‘When I miss you I shall look at the sky and know you can see the same as there is only one sky above us all’. I think all three of us still look at the sky to communicate before we jump on FB, WhatsApp or the phone.

I look up to the sky when I pray for important things.

I look up to the sky when I talk to my souls who have passed on. My dad’s been living up there since 2007, ‘watching down’ on me.

Heaven, for me, is in the sky. It’s where I will go when I leave this life. I’ll be in the sky, watching down on all my loved ones.

My Italian mother in law, Daria, passed away in summertime, I think it was 1999. She’d been suffering terribly and I had been lucky that she had let me assist her in those last few months and weeks she was with us. This was an enormous stamp of approval from her which I am so grateful for to this day. I remember visiting her in hospital on what was to be her final day, she’d given a nurse some money to buy biscuits and chocolates which she had on her bedside table.

I walked to her bed at visiting time and she used her head to point to the goods on her bedside table, she told me they were to be given to the nurses to thank them for all their hard work. My husband was with me, agitated and left the room to speak to a doctor. In his absence she said

“Goodbye Marianne.”

In my heart I knew it would be the last time I would ever see her and speak to her.

She passed away the next morning.

I saw to it that the biscuits and chocolates were given to the nurses who didn’t want to accept them in such a sad moment but I insisted knowing it had been her wish.

My children were in England that week and we never ‘ruined’ their holiday by telling them their beloved nonna had passed away keeping the news for their return when we could hug them too.

There was just one tiny thing I could say to them to make the blow a little softer.

You see, the day she passed away was in August, high season and our hotel was full of guests. When I had finished serving in the restaurant, after the tables had been relaid for breakfast, the floors swept and washed and the service kitchen put to rights once again, I stepped onto the balcony that runs around the restaurant and looked up at the sky for a quiet moment before heading back in to the busy bar. The sight I found took my breath away because never in my life before, nor since that night, had I seen so many starts out twinkling in the crisp, black mountain night.

So many stars.

‘Hello Daria.’ I said.

Whenever my children were feeling the loss of their nonna which often happened at bedtime I would pull back the curtains, open the shutters and show them the sky and tell them what I have told you adding, ‘Nonno Orlando was throwing a party for nonna Daria as he’d been missing her for so long.’ Which always raised a smile as everyone likes a party.

This week’s prompt for The Gallery 199 is The Sky.

We had a fabulous time on our holiday in France this year although the downgraded hurricane Bertha had messed about with the weather a bit making it very unpredictable, until the day we left of course! However, on a good day there were some stunning sunsets that lit up the sky with thousands of colours and which the lake reflected beautifully for me when I took my photo, like these ones, same lake two different nights.

sunset, sky, camping le croix du vieux pont france

Image: The lake at Camping Le Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere, France perfect campsite near Disneyland Paris.

Nip over to The Gallery 199 to see more skies.

the gallery photography sticky fingers

 

back to school 2014

First day of Year 2

Alice

What are you looking forward to? To do writing, seeing my friends and meeting my new teacher.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

What’s your favourite game? Puzzles

Favourite film? Aladdin

Favourite princess? Anastasia and Jasmin

Favourite book? Frozen

Favourite song? – ummmmmm?

Bessie

What are you looking forward to? My new classroom and finding which table I am sitting at. Seeing my friends.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

What’s your favourite game? Puzzles

What’s your favourite film? Beauty and the Beast

Who is your favourite princess? Aurora

What’s your favourite book? ummmmmmm

What’s your favourite song? Let it go!

 

Didn’t we have fun and yes there’s a huge part of me that is so sad it’s all over but there’s also another part of me that actually enjoys the first day back to school, I have always found it exciting. Seeing friends again after the long summer break, new bag, new pencil case and new teacher to get to know. There’s something scary and exciting about the whole September moment.

I recently wrote about my writing process in blog tour and it made me think lots. I feel as if I’m at a crossroad right now waiting for the ‘sign’ of where to turn next. But one thing I know for sure is I have been taking on way too much and need to step back a bit.

Looking back at my blogging journey I immediately recognised what used to be a weekly meet up for me, The Gallery on Sticky Fingers. Joining in this fun weekly photography prompt allowed me to meet and read lots of other blogs plus it encouraged me to get my camera out and have a go.

Some weeks my photos were simply just introductions to writing (and they were terrible) but the more blogs I visited the more I became inspired and the more I worked at my photography to try and get better.

The Gallery – first ever participation – Master of Good Ideas 2nd March 2010

Lots of writing and poor pictures of my beautiful chess set which incidentally is still in the loft.

chess set

But thumbing through all of my entries I smiled at this photo and it made me go awww. It’s not a good photo technically but it captured a moment that still makes me smile.

playing in mummy's shoes

 

And this one made me realise how grown up my girls are now, how time moves quickly and how I am so glad I kept a record of the important moments and the non-important ones like making snowballs when you’re 3.

twins playing in snow

 

Blossom I want to be

You may remember a while back we talked about the new inspiring magazine for girls, Blossom Magazine. The twins continue to enjoy their monthly copy and can often be found flicking through the pages, reading the stories or playing the games throughout the month.

I can honestly say they love it and I love it as it approaches all manner of subjects allowing them to broaden their minds and learn lots of new interesting information. For example in each edition of the magazine, Blossom features a different aspirational career to show girls they can be whoever they want to be – whether it’s an airline pilot, an author or a doctor.

blossom I want to be a pilot

This week Blossom magazine have launched a brilliant competition for their readers and I thought I’d let you know about it as the prize is a family VIP trip to London which includes:

    • one family ticket to ZSL London with a Meet the Meerkats experience;
    • one Rainforest Café voucher worth £100;
    • overnight accommodation in one family room at 3-star hotel, in Central London
    • and a visit to Blossom HQ plus a Blossom Goody Bag.

The #IWantToBe campaign is asking young readers to submit a video entry of what they want to be when they grow up.

I asked Alice and Bessie what they’d like to be when they grow up and here’s their answers

Alice: I want to be a teacher.

Bessie: I want to be a vet.

Then they asked me what I want to be when I grow up, my reply – A lady of leisure like the queen :D

Entrants have until 6th September to submit their video to the email address of hello@blossommagazine.co.uk and one winner will be selected to win a VIP London family trip 

Terms & conditions

T&Cs: Terms and conditions: Promoter: Immediate Media London Company Limited. You must make sure that we have your entries by 11.59pm, 6th September 2014. 1. You can enter if you live in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands, unless someone who lives in your house works for the Immediate Media Company. 2. By entering the competition, you promise to us that you have read these rules and that you will follow them. 3. We can’t include entries which arrive too late and we can’t accept responsibility if your entry is lost. By entering this competition, parents/guardians grant permission to Immediate Media Company (publishers of Blossom) to post the winner’s video and entrants’ first names in its publications, websites and on its social media sites. 4. Winners will be chosen at random. 5. One entry per household. We don’t allow bulk entries or entries made by other people on your behalf. We will disqualify all entries which break this rule. 6. If you win, you will receive the prize described. We won’t swap the prize for cash. No alternatives or substitutions for any unused elements of the prize. If there’s ever a reason why we can’t give you exactly the same prize, we’ll give you something just as good or better instead. Prize is one family ticket to ZSL London valid for 2 adults and 2 children aged 3-16. Children must be at least 5 years of age and be accompanied by an adult for the Meet the Meerkats experience. One Rainforest Café voucher worth £100, see voucher for expiry date and additional T&Cs – includes drinks. Overnight accommodation in one family room at 3-star hotel, in Central London selected by Immediate Media Company. Visit to Blossom HQ includes a Blossom Goody Bag. Travel and other personal expenses are not included. Prize must be redeemed before 31st December 2014. 7. Winners will be contacted within 28 days of a competition closing date, either by post, telephone or email. 8. If we contact you to tell you you’re a winner, but you don’t reply within a month, we may have to offer the prize to a runner-up or give it away in a future competition. Your details: We will use your name, address and any other details that you give us to run this competition. If you win, we will pass them to the person who’s providing the prize so that they can post it to you, and we may use your first name and county in the magazine or on our website but we won’t provide them to anyone else without your permission. You can find out the winner’s first name and county once the competition is over by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Competition Rules, ATTN: Marketing Assistant, Blossom Magazine, Immediate Media Limited, Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT. Remember to tell us which magazine, issue number and competition you’d like to know about.