Category Archives: Health

How I conquered my Diet Coke addiction

I was addicted to Diet Coke. Until November 2017 I would routinely drink about two litres of the stuff a day, served fridge cold in a glass stacked with ice. Beads of icy condensation would form on my refreshing glass after glass after glass of Diet Coke. But I gave it up, and here’s how and why I did it.

I don’t really remember when I started drinking Diet Coke. I think it was in the early 2000’s and my first few cans were from the vending machine in the college I worked in. From memory, I’d found regular Coke too sweet and I wanted something like Coke but not as tooth-tinglingly sweet. It wasn’t so much the diet aspect I enjoyed, but the cold refreshing, thirst quenching nature of the drink. I was soon hooked and drinking one or two cans a day.

How I conquered my Diet Coke addiction

As the years went by I started drinking Diet Coke at home too. It probably started as a cold one after work and developed into the several litres a day habit I ended up with. I knew that regardless of the minimal calories I was ingesting, Diet Coke probably wasn’t that healthy for me. When I was pregnant I shifted to caffeine free Diet Coke, but soon shifted back. I’ve flirted with the odd month or two without caffeinated drinks over the years, but I always went back to Diet Coke.

Whenever the concerned voice inside my head mentioned that Diet Coke probably wasn’t that great, another voice would remind me that the school nurse encouraged me to drink lots of fizzy drinks as they would fill me up so I wouldn’t eat (who gives that kind of advice to a teenage girl?). I would also tell myself that there were so few calories in it I was doing myself a favour by drinking it. Of course now we know different.

In 2017 I’d spent several months being under the weather or just plain poorly. I knew I needed to make some changes, so in November I undertook a serious detox plan. It was pretty horrible but it did work and I felt better for it. During the detox I gave up pretty much everything except fruit, vegetables and water. When I came out the other side I was no longer craving Diet Coke.

I’ve probably had 15 years of drinking Diet Coke under my belt. Did stopping make me feel any different? Well, yes. Once I’d gone through the caffeine withdrawal headache, I felt much better. I have gone from having under three hours sleep a night to getting almost double that on average. More sleep also makes me a nicer, more humany human.

Tips for giving up Diet Coke

Mentally prepare yourself. Giving up isn’t easy and you will probably get a headache and a raging thirst for Diet Coke.

Find a few alternative drinks that you can drink instead. I’ve started drinking more water and I mostly drink very weak sugar-free cordial with ice. My current tipple is no added sugar Vimto and I also like an orange squash. I make mine very weak so it’s more like a flavoured water than anything.

Keep a note about when you stopped and what is different for you. You will probably find you’re sleeping better. If you’ve got a Fitbit this can help monitor your sleep. Seeing an improvement in this area was a big motivation for me.

Reward yourself. For me giving up fizzy drinks entirely is fairly unrealistic. Every week I choose a few interesting cans of fizzy pop and put them in the fridge, my current favourite is San Pellegrino. When I feel like a treat I will crack open a can. A little of something nice is good for you, two litres a day, probably not so much.

That’s how I gave up Diet Coke. I’ve been Diet Coke free for over two months now and I feel happier and healthier for it. I’m very pleased that I’ve managed to step away from my Diet Coke addiction. 

How I conquered my Diet Coke addiction

Giveaway & Review: Higher Nature Kids Vitamins

Getting kids to take their vitamins can be a tricky business. We’ve been trying Vital Vits and Smart Focus from Higher Nature – an independently owned business that’s based in the UK. Higher Nature make high quality, ethical and well researched nutritional products for the whole family.

After pushing for tests for a number of years, over the summer my son was finally diagnosed with having an iron deficiency. We were sent away with some dietary advice (which we’d already been following for forever) and told to come back in a couple of months for a re-test. What was clear that however good his diet is, he still needed top ups of iron and other vitamins to keep him healthy.

Giveaway & Review: Higher Nature Kids Vitamins

The worry is that he has inherited a genetic blood disorder – Alpha Thalassemia Trait from my side of the family. There’s not a lot that can be done if he has, he will just need to look after himself, which means taking vitamin supplements and getting lots of sleep, amongst other things.

The problem is supplements are often boring or taste horrible. Kids vitamins and supplements have come a long way in recent years and are easier and more enjoyable to take. We’ve been trying some of the children’s health range from Higher Nature, specifically the Higher Nature Kids Vital Vits and Higher Nature Kids Smart Focus.

Higher Nature Kids Vital Vits

The Higher Nature Vital Vits (£14.99 for 90 tablets) contain 19 of your essential vitamins and minerals (including Iron) and is a good all-rounder. They are suitable for children aged 3+ and you take just one a day. The Vital Vits are designed especially for fussy eaters to support their daily diet.

They come in three delicious fruity flavours with fun-shaped characters – mango robots, lime aliens and raspberry teddies. They are small-ish, chewable tablets and they’re really easy to take. These supplements are gluten, lactose and dairy free and don’t contain any artificial preservatives, colours or flavourings. They are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans and have not been tested on animals.

I’ve tried them and they’re really fruity and not at all chalky. My son really liked them too and would gobble them all up if we let him (which is why we keep them out of reach). These are a real winner for us; knowing he’s getting a daily vitamin boost is a weight off our minds too.

Giveaway & Review: Higher Nature Kids Vitamins

Higher Nature Kids Smart Focus

These Higher Nature Smart Focus Jellies (£9.99 for 27 jellies) contain omega 3 EPA and DHA with omega 6 GLA, all of the essential omegas in one delicious fruity jelly. The jelly is free from added sugars and artificial sweeteners. The jellies have been formulated to help children keep focussed in the classroom.

Getting kids to take fish oil supplements can be tricky. Thankfully my son thinks these jellies are a bit of a treat. They’re intensely fruity flavoured and have no fishy aftertaste which is a bonus. They’re best taken with food, so we usually give my son one with his breakfast.

I think we all need a boost sometimes, especially with the cold and flu season coming up. My son needs an iron boost and taking a multivitamin every day will help him to absorb iron better too. It’s peace of mind for me and the building blocks of good health for him.

For more information about Higher Nature Vitamins and Supplements, visit their website.

WIN a Higher Nature Kids Vitamins bundle

To be in with a chance to win a Higher Nature Kids Vitamins bundle – a box of Vital Vits (£14.99) and Smart Focus (£9.99), simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent the win Higher Nature Kids Vitamins Vital Vits (£14.99) and Smart Focus (£9.99).
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 19th November 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

We were sent these products for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: SJ WORKS Smart phone bicycle First Aid Kit

Ever since my days as a Brownie I’ve always carried with me a few first aid basics in my bag just in case. In the car we have a small first aid kit and we’ve got a kit which lives with our camping gear too. We are always prepared for scrapes and mishaps. SJ Works have created a handy first aid kit just for cyclists. Their Smart phone bicycle first aid kit is designed for regular cyclists. But is it any good?

Review: SJ WORKS Smart phone bicycle First Aid Kit

The Smart phone bicycle first aid kit straps onto the crossbar of your bike with adjustable velcro straps. It has a waterproof section where you can keep your smart phone and there’s a rubber headphone port for your headphone lead. This means you can use your phone (carefully obviously) hands-free when cycling.

The kit itself is comprehensive and well thought out. It contains pretty much everything you could need in a minor bump or scrape.

The bicycle first aid kit includes…

  • An American Red Cross First Aid Guide
  • 6 Antiseptic Towelettes
  • 5 Easy Access Bandage 3*1″
  • Easy Access Bandage x5 3/4*3″
  • 5 Junior Easy Access Bandage 3/8×1.5″
  • Butterfly Wound Closures x5
  • 2 Sterile Non-Adherent Pads 2″x3″
  • 2 Sterile Non-woven sponges2″x2″2pcs/pk 4ply
  • A Sterile Eye Pad
  • 1 Pressure Bandages 2″x2″
  • 1 Pressure Bandages 3″x3″
  • A1 Triangular Bandage 42″x42″x59″ nonwoven
  • 1 Tape Roll 1/2″x10yds.
  • 1 Emergency Blanket 38″x60″
  • A 3.5mm Headphone Extention Cord M/F
  • 1 SJ Works Reflect strip
  • 1 Security Seal

The kit is CE & FDA Approval and meets the ISO13485 International Standard required for kits of this nature. All of the medical components are sterile ready for use.

Review: SJ WORKS Smart phone bicycle First Aid Kit

As with all kits you should regularly check and update the contents so everything is in date and ready for use should you need to use any of the plasters, dressings or other components. The SJ WORKS Smart phone solution bicycle first aid kit is currently available for £33 from Amazon.

What do I think? I think if you are a regular cyclist, maybe for commuting or for going long distances on weekends, then a first aid kit is an essential you should carry with you. I like how it keeps your smart phone safe and dry while you’re out cycling. Knowing that you have a comprehensive kit close to hand gives you peace of mind if an accident happens.

Note: We were sent this product for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Win a pair of Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses

If you’re having trouble seeing clearly when you’re reading, using the computer or watching TV, it may mean that you need reading glasses. British company Eyejusters have created reading glasses can give you perfect vision for all of these activities at just the turn of a tiny dial.

Win a pair of Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses

Eyejusters have created UK’s first ever smart glasses for vision correction. Their adjustable reading glasses have a +0.5 to +4.0 focussing range and their advanced lens technology has a ‘Super Close Up Macro Mode’ for glasses, making them ideal for close up work such as crafts.

These new glasses from Eyejusters look just like ordinary glasses but use discreet adjustable eyeDials to change the lens strength, in a similar way to binoculars or a microscope. These adjustable reading glasses mean there is no need to go to the expense of buying different pairs of glasses for different uses – buy one pair and see everything!

Now I’m in my early 40’s I’m noticing that I’m starting to struggle a bit with close up work, especially with crafts. Threading a needle is probably where I notice it the most. By our mid-forties many people start to struggle to see close-up objects such as small writing, computers and mobile phones. This is caused by an age-related condition called presbyopia, which is part of the natural ageing process of the eye.

Win a pair of Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses

There are 17 different styles to choose from. Each pair of Eyejusters glasses are either £69 or £79 depending on what style you choose.

Wearing glasses with the wrong lens can cause short-term issues such as headaches, eye strain, squinting, tired eyes, blurred vision, dizziness or a lack of balance. These Eyejusters glasses mean you always have the right glasses on whatever you are doing. Plus you have the ability to adjust your glasses as your eyesight worsens; meaning you can have the perfect vision at just the turn of a tiny dial.

Eyejusters are available online from their website for either £69 or £79 depending on which of the 17 styles you choose.

Win a pair of Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses

To be in with a chance to win a pair of Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses worth £79, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a pair of Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 8th November 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

I bite my nails and I’m ok with that

I bite my nails and I know that my nails make my otherwise ok hands look shabby. I don’t want to stop biting my nails. I actually quite like it. Other people seem to have a problem with it though. Should I stop biting my nails just to please other people?

I’ve got this slightly anti-social habit and I have no desire to stop it. Every so often when an occasion looms ahead, like Christmas or a wedding, I paint my nails in advance. This stops me nibbling for a while and my hands look briefly quite tidy and respectable.

I’m off to a blogging conference this weekend and it’s one of those rare occasions I think I might try to spruce myself up for. I’ve painted my nails and to anyone else they probably look terrible. But to me they look ok. I’ve got funny cuticles which need attention and the paint job isn’t great, but they’ll do. Anyone who wants to stare at my nails and judge me on them can judge away.

I bite my nails and I'm ok with that

I’d love to be able to go for a manicure. I’d love to spoil myself with one. I’ve had them in the past and almost without exception they’ve been joyless experiences. The nail technician always comments on my nail biting, the length of the nails, the state of my cuticles and has a resigned “what the hell am I going to do with these” look on their face.

No I don’t want false nails thank you. No I don’t want to grow them either. I hate the feel of having even slightly longer nails that I already have. Feeling the tips as they tap on the keyboard makes me feel sick and they have to come off. They have to be short and after 40 years of biting I’m not going to stop now.

I’d just love a manicure from someone who gets that I just want to make what I’ve got look pretty and tidy. I don’t want to stick false nails on. I don’t want to try nasty flavoured stuff either. My need to bite my nails is such that I will tolerate the terrible taste to get my nail nibbling fix.

My name is Jane and I bite my nails (and always will because I like it).

Health: Living with Alpha Thalassemia Trait

Way back in 2010 when I was pregnant with my son, I had the usual barrage of tests they give to pregnant ladies. I wasn’t really expecting anything to flash up in the results and I think my Doctor was as surprised as me to find that I had Alpha Thalassemia Trait, a genetic blood disorder.

My husband and I were quickly thrown onto a conveyor belt of further tests and genetic counselling. Something neither of us were expecting nor were in any way prepared for. Being pregnant and having a baby is scary enough, but when you find out there’s a chance of something unthinkable happening, your world turns upside down.

On its own my Alpha Thalassemia Trait is a bit like having anaemia. I’m a bit tired most of the time. I always have been. I remember being a teenager and family members telling me how lazy I was and how I didn’t have any get up and go. It wasn’t that I was lazy, I just had no energy at all. Thalassemia comes in various forms, some are far more serious than others and some people with other versions of the disorder can have terrible health problems. Thankfully Alpha Thalassemia Trait has pretty low-level symptoms.

As an adult, I learned to cope and manage my low-level exhaustion and factored those symptoms into my lifestyle. I can’t actually nap unless I’m ill, but rest periods are essential, as are lie-ins a couple of times a week. Caffeine is my friend, it gives me false energy and a little pep up when I need a boost to get me through. I work from home now and as much as I can I work when I’m energised and rest when I am not.

When I was first got pregnant in the days before I knew the reason why I was fatigued all the time, I was absolutely shattered. I’d do a days work, come home and get straight into bed. My husband would wake me up to give me a meal in bed and I’d fall asleep again. He’d wake me up later to make sure I had a drink and then leave me to sleep until morning. For a few weeks I thought I was seriously ill. I was just pregnant.

In terms of my health during my pregnancy it didn’t really affect me. I was advised to try to eat more iron rich foods and to rest when I could. I suspect that’s advice given to pregnant women regardless of their thalassemia status.

What I did find stressful, and it was something which definitely contributed to the deterioration of my mental health after my son was born, was the genetic counselling. It was supposed to educate us about the risks of having two parents with the disease, which is helpful, but at 18 weeks pregnant I was faced with the possibility that my baby could die if my husband also had this genetic anomaly. Until the test results came through I could not be reassured.

This dark cloud hung heavily over us while we waited for his test results to come back. My husband is half Armenian and thalassemia is prevalent in Mediterranean, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern counties. I knew this was a concern to the medical team treating me. It was a truly horrible time in our lives. The two weeks of waiting were torture. Thankfully his results came back absolutely clear and we were discharged from the Thalassemia Service and told our baby would be ok.

Alpha Thalassemia Trait is a strange condition. I have it but there’s no treatment for my minor version of it. There’s not a lot I can do to make myself better, I just have to factor in self-care where I can. The concern is that I will have passed my genetic anomaly on to my son. If I have then he will need to be cautious should he ever want children of his own. If he has it, then his partner will need to be tested to make sure that together they can have healthy babies of their own.

The test for Thalassemia is really simple, it’s a quick blood test. I’d never heard of the disease before I knew I was a carrier. It’s not infectious, you can’t catch it from me, not unless I give birth to you, which is unlikely. If you’re worried you may be a carrier it’s worth speaking to your GP and requesting a test, especially if you’re thinking of having a baby.

Health: Living with Alpha Thalassemia Trait

You can find out more about Alpha Thalassemia Trait by visiting this website.

This blog post does not constitute medical advice. I am just sharing my experience of  Alpha Thalassemia Trait.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray and I was pretty positive about it. We’d all three of us used it on the early onset of a cold and it really had stopped it in its tracks, I was impressed. But today I want to share with you a bad reaction I had, which on further investigation seems quite common.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effects

This morning I woke up with a bit of a sniffle, so I reached for my bottle of Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray and used it according to the instructions. If you sniff when you spray it does burn and run down the back of your throat and is very unpleasant, so I’ve learned not to do that. Taking care not to sniff, I popped two squirts up each nostril whilst I was sat up straight and my head not tilted. I was almost instantly hit by the most incredible pain.

The pain was like a hot poker being pressed on the top of my head on the right side, then forced down through my skull and down my neck. Over the first few minutes it radiated through the right side of my skull and through my right ear. In an attempt to try to get some of the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray out of my nose, I gave it a good blow, which may have helped I don’t know. Every tooth on the upper right side of my mouth hurt and I had to lie down in the dark for over three hours. I took painkillers and slept, I couldn’t physically have done anything else. This is what I imagine having a stroke feels like.

When I woke up later, the pain is less, but the top of my head is still throbbing and fizzing, I have earache and my eyes are aching. I feel rotten. As soon as I felt able, I propped myself up in bed and googled “Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray bad reaction” which brought me to the Amazon reviews for the product. I filtered them so I could read the (49 at the time of writing) 1 star reviews and almost every one of them complained of a similar reaction.

Health: Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray side effectsImage above is a screenshot taken from Amazon.

The Vicks website gives a comprehensive list of the possible side effects, but it does not mention the searing intense pain that myself and other users have reported.

I’m sharing this information with you, not to stop you from using the product, because it has worked for me over and over in the last six months; but to say if this side effect happens to you, you know it’s not just you.

If you are worried, contact your GP. It’s just over four hours since I used the spray now and my head and neck are throbbing and achy. I took painkillers, I’ve drunk plenty of fluids, I lay down and rested as much as I could. It’s not as acute as it was but it feels like it had probably settled in for the day and many of the 1 star Amazon reviewers said the same.

It could be that I am just suddenly sensitive to the ingredients. But I have used it several times over the last six months with no ill effects. I wont be using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray again, I’d rather have a cold than feel that pain again.

If you experience any bad side effects when using Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray or any other medicine, you can report your experiences to The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency here.

Note: This blog post does not constitute medical advice, I am just sharing my experience of this product.

Can you dig it? The new JCB Kids glasses at Specsavers

Over the weekend the boys went off on an adventure. They were invited to Specsavers at Manchester Fort for the launch of the new range of JCB Kids glasses. It was the promise of getting up close and personal with a real JCB which tempted them; but a free eye test for the boy was also a big draw.

Eye health is something we take pretty seriously as a family. My husband has worn glasses since he was a child and I started wearing them last year. We know it’s likely Ben will need to wear them at some point. Regular eye tests are important for a lot of reasons; not least because having them checked may alert you to a health problem you didn’t know was there.

Can you dig it? The new JCB Kids glasses at Specsavers

Children’s eye tests are available for free from Spacsavers (on the NHS). If they need glasses, they get an under-16s’ NHS optical voucher to put towards new glasses. Kid’s glasses have come a long way since when I was a child. Although the thick NHS specs we dreaded back then are all the rage these days.

Matthew and Ben arrived at Specsavers and were both excited by the real JCB backhoe loader outside. It was even wearing its own giant pair of glasses. Ben was especially excited by the JCB Transformer. Who wouldn’t be? It was an actual Transformer which changed from a JCB to a walking hero in front of his eyes!

Can you dig it? The new JCB Kids glasses at Specsavers

Aside from his school eye test, Ben hasn’t had a proper eye test with an optician and it’s been on my list of things to do for a couple of months now. I was a bit worried that he’d make a fuss and not co-operate with the optician, but he was great. He sat beautifully in the chair and did everything that was asked of him. It helped that the optician who was testing him was fantastic and patient with him. We’ll be back next year!

Thankfully his eyesight is absolutely fine for now. We’re so glad we got him tested, it’s a weight off my mind at least.

Can you dig it? The new JCB Kids glasses at Specsavers

I’m a bit envious of these JCB Kids glasses, they make my sensible glasses look a bit pedestrian. The JCB Kids glasses from iconic British brand JCB are tough, cool and created with adventure loving boys and girls in mind. All of the JCB Kids frames come with single-vision lenses including UV filter and are part of their kids 2 free pairs offer. You can view the full range here.

Can you dig it? The new JCB Kids glasses at Specsavers

Looking after your eyes is so important. I’m so glad we got him tested, it’s reassuring to know that his eyes are ok. We’ll be taking him back next year for his annual test. It’s worth remembering that children’s eye tests and almost all of their glasses are available on the NHS free of charge.

You can find out more about children’s eye tests and the JCB Kids glasses range on the Specsavers website.

We were invited guests of Specsavers and JCB Kids glasses. We received a goodie bag and a voucher towards eye-care as a thank you for attending.

Health: Hormone changes and dry eyes

I’d put it down to just getting older, but in recent years I’ve started to struggle with dry eyes. Part of that is probably increased levels of screen time, part of it is I now have to wear glasses and part of that is my age.

I have noticed that after a long day on the laptop my eyes are feeling it. When I go to the cinema and I put my glasses on, I feel it then too. My eyes feel uncomfortable and dry. Dry eye is a condition where your eyes don’t make enough tears to keep them moist. If you’ve got dry eyes, your eyes can feel irritated, watery and sore.

Health: Hormone changes and dry eyes

Leading Optometrist Sarah Farrant is a new mum and has experienced dry eye problems herself. She had this to say about dry eyes. “There is a well-established link between our balance of hormones and the health of our eyes. During pregnancy, the level of oestrogen in our body changes. This has a direct effect on our eye health, often causing expectant mums to experience dry eyes and find contact lenses uncomfortable, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy.”

There are many things which can cause dry eyes. A night on the tiles, tiredness, too much screen time and central heating can all affect the moisture levels in our eyes and if left unmanaged can lead to more serious eye problems.

Sarah has some tips for people who are having problems with dry eyes – 

•  Blink! Each time you blink it spreads moisture across the surface of your eye. Screen time can reduce your blink rate from 22 blinks to 7 blinks per minute and is a major cause of dry eyes.
•  Use a naturally hydrating eye drop like Hycosan Fresh (£8.99 from Boots) to help keep your eyes moisturised and feeling refreshed.
•  Studies show that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water can also help.

Health: Hormone changes and dry eyes

I really like the design of the Hycosan Fresh bottle. I’m useless at doing my own eye drops, but this is a pump, so you just aim the dropper in the corner of your eye, press the pump and it’s in. Why aren’t all eye drops designed like this?

Since I took Sarah’s advice my eyes have felt much better. I’m making an effort to blink and drink more, take regular breaks away from the screen, and when my eyes start to feel uncomfortable I use a drop or two of Hycosan Fresh.

Note: I was sent a bottle of Hycosan Fresh for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Health: Making sick days better #VicksTricks

It’s February and we are slap bang in the middle of cold season; not that there’s ever really a time when you can’t catch a cold. With school being like it is – a festering swamp of germs. Bugs, viruses and colds can knock a whole class out for weeks at a time and kids are having sick days left, right and centre!

Inevitably the kids bring home germs and the whole family goes down. Whilst we make every effort not to take any unnecessary time off school and work, sometimes a sick day is what you need to knock the bug on the head. 

As a parent, the problem with sick days is that you don’t want them to be too much fun, you don’t want to give the idea that being at home is more fun than being at school, but you still want to be able to offer comfort and care to your child.

Health: Making sick days better #VicksTricks

The boy has had thankfully very few sick days off school. But when he has I always make sure he’s warm and comfortable. Snuggled on the sofa under a blanket is fairly standard. He might watch TV for a while, or do some colouring or work his way through an activity book. We will often read to each other and we will always have as many cuddles as he wants or needs. It’s a difficult balance to strike between keeping him entertained but not making it too exciting, so he won’t want more fun sick days at home.

In terms of looking after him when a cold hits, I let him drink as much water or watered down fruit juice as he wants. He’s not yet discovered the comforting hug in a mug a hot cordial can be, but that will come. If he’s suffering he can have some paracetamol medicine, and I encourage him to just keep blowing his nose. If he’s snuffly and coughing at night, the old trick of Vicks Vaporub on the feet really helps.

Interestingly Vicks have done some research into how parents cope with colds and bugs within their families –

• Over half (52%) of parents said that rest was the most important thing for making children feel better
• This was followed by ‘medicine’, which 40% of parents rely on
• More than a third of parents (36%) believe in the power of TLC

And when it comes to keeping children entertained: 

• Three out of four (75%) British parents put on the TV or a DVD
• Over a quarter (27%) read to their children
• 1 in 10 parents get really creative; either telling jokes (8%) or even do magic tricks (2%)

Of course prevention is always better than a cure. We are big on hand washing and trying to avoid getting the bugs in the first place. At the first sign of a cold, we adults start taking zinc supplements and praying for mercy. We’ve recently discovered Vicks First Defence. You spray it up your nose a few times a day at the first sign of a cold. It helps to stop the cold bugs in their tracks. 

Health: Making sick days better #VicksTricks

I admit to being a little skeptical, but last week I woke up with a tickly throat and reached for the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray. It was easy to use and I used it for a couple of days and it really did seem to stop the cold in its tracks. I just don’t have the time to be fighting bugs, so this will be part of my bug battle armoury from now on. 
 

This post is an entry for the BritMums #VicksTricks campaign.