We are celebrating our 30th TIPS e-newsletter with new offers and top tips!
***Spring Offer*** FREE P&P for orders on the TIPS online shop during March and Arpil 2013! ***Special Offer***
Like us on Facebook – visit the TIPS Ltd Facebook page: we publish news (including competitions!), information and advice for parents and professionals regularly.
I am thrilled to report that life has settled back to some sort of normality. Our son Jason has even returned to work after four months recovering from a fractured pelvis. This is nothing short of miraculous considering the severity of his accident! Meanwhile our Brigitte has become a granny for the second time and our lovely Michael is studying for a Masters degree which is keeping him busy alongside a full time job and TIPS website updates! We must be good at multi-tasking because, busy or not, we have still managed to compile a new selection of features and competitions which we hope you will enjoy in our first e-newsletter of 2013...
Our testers have been busy reviewing products and completing surveys. Their feedback is vital for companies developing new products and for other parents too. We are delighted to announce our first two 2013 TIPS Awards for the innovative Jackson Reece Nose Nuzzles - you can check out in our featured products section.
Our featured website is www.linkwordlanguages.com. Languages have never been my strong point so when I came across Linkword Languages on Twitter I decided to check this out and offered to review one of their courses. Linkword Languages was developed by Dr Michael Gruneberg - internationally recognised expert in learning methods. This simple but highly effective approach to learning really does work. I tried the Dutch course, and you can read my review here. We would like to thank Linkword Languages for kindly offering you the chance to win one of two Linkword Language courses (Level 1-4 disk and MP3 in French, Spanish, Italian or German) and a 30 Survival Course Disk (total prize value is £296) in our e-newsletter competition.
Biovault Family is our featured event as they celebrate ten years as a clinical tissue bank. It's almost five years since my article ‘Cord blood banking and its implications for midwifery practice: time to review the evidence’ was published in the Midirs Digest (this article is available on our sister website at: www.sharontrotter.org.uk/midirs2008.htm). I felt this event provided the perfect opportunity to revisit the topic of cord blood banking and answer any questions you may have. To mark 10 years as a tissue bank Biovault Family have kindly offered TIPS readers the chance to save £150 off the cost of cord blood banking. If you would like to take advantage of this offer all you have to do is quote TIPS10 when you apply for Biovault services online and the discount will be applied.
Our Top Tips features include the Eugin Clinic Men’s guide to fertility booklet, with information about of their new consultation clinic in London. We also introduce the innovative and new way of eco-friendly shopping at Unpackaged, and feature the Metropolitan Police Little Book of BIG Scams.
Like the Little book of BIG Scams, the books we reviewed both have the word little in their title: 100 Little Words on Parenthood by Charlie Plunkett, is a collection of anecdotes, poems, words of wisdom and humour on all aspects of parenting (including two contributed sections on breastfeeding and baby skincare by me!) and One Little Baby is an adorable first book for babies.
Check out our delightful TIPS Testers' photos including a wonderful selection of pictures that celebrate the home birth of baby number three for one of our loyal Parent Testers. We also have a very special breastfeeding clip showing a perfect latch. Maybe you have photos of your own you would like to share with us? Remember we're always on the lookout for these - and I will send a signed copy of my book (Breastfeeding: the essential guide) to the sender of each photo we publish.
As well as our regular mix of featured apps, charity, article, DVD, Top Value and Top Treat our latest My Story follows a mum’s journey as she tries to get a diagnosis of tongue-tie, treated by snipping.
We also have part two of our newest feature Diary of a Student Midwife Down Under.
Don't forget to check out our 10 mini-competitions with a total prize value of over £500! Email your entries and you too could be a winner. Remember if you are not 'in' you can't win!
* FREE P&P offer limited to one box of ten Jackson Reece baby wipes (due to weight)
[back to top]
Featured apps:: Tractor Ted – Farm Fun 1
Tractor Ted in Tractorland (www.tractorted.co.uk) has launched a new app on iTunes. For more about Tractor Ted see our TIPS e-newsletter 29 (go to: http://bit.ly/VqdXUh).
Like the books and DVDs, the app is designed to appeal to children from 2-6 years and to fans of Tractor Ted using real life footage and photography. It also encourages children to develop essential skills, including hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor skills (small, precise thumb, finger, hand, and wrist movements) and counting.
The app costs £1.99 and has six sections. In the Stickers section children select a landscape backdrop and create their own story choosing images of animals and farm machinery.
In the Jigsaws section children can use five countryside images with increasing levels of difficulty from Easy Peasy to Expert. The Sounds section is an interactive picture sound board. In the Video section, children can watch clips of big machines at work in the fields. In the Book section, children can read extracts from the Tractor Ted books. There is also a Game section where the player can choose a tractor, plough the field, plant seeds, watch these grow when it rains and the sun shines. They can then harvest the crops with a combine harvester.
The app was created by two fathers of young Tractor Ted fans: Lee Morgan-Geer and Michael Adams of Wap Media. Their children (who are between eight months and four years old), were involved in the development and testing of the app. This was to make sure it will appeal to all young Tractor Ted fans!
The app is designed for iPhone and iPad. An Android version is in development.
New - Tractor Ted’s Little Farm at Bowood is to open on 22 March 2013
The Little Farm aims to bring to life many of the real action farming stories told by Tractor Ted, which engage children with the fun of the countryside and where their food comes from.
There will be lots for young families to discover and enjoy. Children will be able to meet friendly farm animals such as goats and sheep and handle rabbits, guinea pigs and hens. In the barn they will be able to watch real chicks hatching, enjoy lots of farm games and watch Tractor Ted’s real action films. Outside they will be able to ride around the mini tractor track, play ball scooping in the mini digger den and on special occasions see really big, modern farm machines like combine harvesters, forage harvesters, balers and ploughs. To make it complete, there is a cosy café beside the farm for parents to relax in with their children.
[back to top]
Featured apps:: Tweekaboo
Tweekaboo – free pregnancy journal app to share photos, videos and text with private contacts
Tweekaboo is a new private online photo and video diary app that helps you record the story of your child's life.
Family life is all about moments. Tweekaboo lets you to capture those moments on the go. Using your smart phone, you can capture all the photographs, video and text from any event.
The app is free to download and very easy to use. You simply save the moment with your smart phone and Tweekaboo instantly uploads it to a private place in the cloud. Each moment can be tagged with members of your private Tweekaboo network, or be stored in a chronological timeline so it's easy for you to find later.
You can invite anyone to share your Tweekaboo journal so Tweekaboo messages them every time a new moment is uploaded. You can also create two groups of contacts, Friends and Family, who you can share select moments with. They can add their comments to the moment creating an invaluable record for you and your children. Unlike other social networks, Tweekaboo is completely private and you have complete control on who can access the information on your Tweekaboo network. However it is possible to post Tweekaboo moments on Facebook.
Tweekaboo works on many levels. It's a brilliant tool for dads who want to create a pregnancy diary, or for busy mums who want to make sure they won't forget in the future very special events for their little ones: for example their first words, funny expressions or hilarious behaviour. Nannies and au pairs can share moments virtually in real time with working mums and dads. Tweekaboo can also be used to share moments privately with family and friends. Parents can even scan and upload precious artwork or special cards and letters (even letters to Santa) that they want to keep and show their children when they’re older.
As everything is stored in the cloud it won't be lost if your computer hard drive stops working. Tweekaboo also plan to enable users to print their moments in the near future.
“We’re all busy juggling family, work and countless other priorities,” says founder and CEO, Eugene Murphy. “As a father of four, I always feel I could be doing more. We developed Tweekaboo to make it easy for busy parents to share and enjoy their children’s daily moments – even when they’re at work. Communication is so fragmented now,” he continues. “We have photographs, text messages, emails and video on every device imaginable. Tweekaboo lets people organise all of this content in one safe place to create a digital legacy that they can pass on to their children. It is completely private and, most importantly, you have total control over who you share your moments with.”
[back to top]
Featured website:: LINKWORD Languages – www.linkwordlanguages.com
LINKWORD Languages publishes CD, software and MP3 language courses
Developed by Dr Michael Gruneberg - internationally recognised expert in learning methods.
These courses use many memory enhancing principles - including the method of association - to increase the speed of learning and give us the capacity to increase our memory bank of new words. Independent research has shown that the method of association used by Linkword Languages allows people to learn up to 3 times faster than traditional methods (used by most other language courses).
- You can get Linkword Language courses in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, Dutch, Welsh, Japanese, Chinese and Hebrew.
Review of Dutch course by Sharon Trotter
My daughter lives in Holland so I am a regular visitor to Europe. Languages have never been my strong point so when I came across Linkword Languages on Twitter I decided to check this out and offered to review one of their courses. I chose Dutch as I have no prior knowledge of this language - this gives me the chance to start from scratch. Most people in The Netherlands speak English: this makes it far too easy for me to avoid speaking Dutch! When out and about, I often feel embarrassed that I can't even answer the simplest question. I am not looking to become a fluent Dutch speaker anytime soon but I would like to learn enough words to speak simple sentences for everyday situations that require only a basic understanding of the Dutch language. I hope Linkword can help me do just that!
The software and MP3 audio clips are easy to install and work through. The introductory notes give lots of tips on how to get the very best out of each course. I strongly recommend that learners follow this advice as it really does help when working through the exercises. It's possible to complete your course on the move using an MP3 player or, like me, you could choose to complete the course on a PC. This meant I could listen to the words and follow the prompts on screen, then type my answers as I learnt each new word. It's important to spend time listening to the correct pronunciation then imagining the word in picture form (for example: the word for frog is kikker, so you imagine a kicking frog). This helps a learners’ brain to easily associate each word and its translation. After you have completed a section of new words there is plenty of time to practise and revise until you are happy to move on. Each section of new words is followed by simple grammar exercises that allow you to start constructing short sentences. I wondered why there was no ‘back’ button but realised why this feature has been omitted: the sections are designed to be worked through in one sitting. I soon realised this is a good idea, as your brain needs time to start processing the linkwords. Taking the time to complete each short section is well worth the effort.
As I am still working my way through level 1, I was planning to include my review of this language course in our summer e-newsletter. However, I am so impressed that I have decided to tell you all about Linword Languages in this issue - this will give you the chance to order your course in plenty of time for the summer holidays. Talking of holidays, Linkword also have an innovative course that could be a life saver called the 30 'Survival Courses' described below.
LINKWORD 30 survival courses
These innovative packages include 30 different language courses with over 200 words per course.
Each course consists of approximately 200 words which can be learned in an astonishing 2-3 hours - far faster than normal learning speed. The courses will enable you to learn an amazing amount of targeted useful words in a wide range of languages. The courses are ideal for the traveller, student or businessperson who wants to rapidly acquire an extensive vocabulary to help overcome that feeling of isolation one has when travelling to a country without knowing the language.
Some of the words you will learn for example, help, doctor ambulance, might even save your life.
Linkword survival courses are text only courses without sound, and are available to download after payment.
The courses are provided in printable PDF and Microsoft Word versions. You will need to have Microsoft Word installed on your computer to use the Word version.
All downloadable and CD courses come with a 60 day full money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied, just return your disks (or uninstall a downloadable course). With over 3000 positive feedback comments on eBay since 2005, we think this will be unlikely!
e-newsletter competition :: Linkword Language courses
For a chance to win 1 of 2 Linkword Language courses (Level 1-4 disk and MP3 in French, Spanish, Italian or German) and a 30 Survival Course Disk (total package value is £147.99), email the words ‘LINKWORD’ to
by 24 May 2013 - remember to tell us which Language you would like (French, Spanish, Italian or German). We will announce the winners in e-newsletter 31.
[back to top]
Featured product :: TIPS-tested Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature Nose Nuzzles 2012
Many congratulations to our latest TIPS Award winner on their well deserved wins.....
Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature Nose Nuzzles have just won a Best eco-friendly and Clever idea Awards after in-depth testing by our Parent Testers at the end of 2012.
For a chance to win1 of 5 Nose Nuzzles check out mini-competition 5
[back to top]
:: Featured events
Cord blood banking revisited - Biovault celebrates its Tenth Anniversary as a clinical tissue bank
It's almost five years since my article ‘Cord blood banking and its implications for midwifery practice: time to review the evidence’ was published in the Midirs Digest (the article is available on our sister website at: www.sharontrotter.org.uk/midirs2008.htm)
My article traces the brief history of cord blood banking, explains why cord blood is unique and describes how it is used to treat a number of conditions. The article also documents national and international legislation in place to protect all parties and explores the differences between public and private cord blood banks. Since 2008 a huge amount of work has been carried out in this area of science with new cord blood banks opening, both private and public. I felt the tenth anniversary of Biovault Technical, a state of the art facility in the UK, was the perfect opportunity to revisit the topic of cord blood banking and answer any questions you may have.
As a passionate advocate of natural childbirth I questioned the practice of cord blood collection in my 2008 article. I wrote:
- ‘The collection of umbilical cord blood during or after the third stage of labour could be complicated by a series of factors including: multiple birth, prematurity, the cord around the neck, risk of post partum haemorrhage or emergency caesarean section. Furthermore, it has the potential to disrupt the initial period of bonding when skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding should be allowed to progress unhindered’ (Trotter 2008)
While this is a dilemma for me and for other midwives, I understand why many parents may want to collect their babies' cord blood. This is one of the reasons why I was keen to write about cord blood banking again, update my knowledge and provide you, the parents, with the information you need to make the right choice for you and your family.
Science and technology are making huge advances in the way they collect and use human tissues, especially stem cells. However, the safest and easiest way to collect these precious cells is still from cord blood. Previously discarded as a waste product, stem cells found in cord blood are unique building blocks of life. They can be used to save lives. Stem cells can help in many vital areas of medical research that may herald important breakthroughs in the treatment of many conditions, including genetic diseases, Parkinson’s research and heart conditions.
Since it was set up in 2003 Biovault have released 7 samples of cord blood stem cells for transplant on behalf of private clients, and over 3,500 bone marrow stem cell samples for transplants in private clinics and for NHS cancer treatment. Biovault also process and store other human tissues for clinical transplantations in the NHS. No other cord blood bank has released as many samples for transplantation.
For free, independent and impartial advice on the subject of cord blood banking, go to http://parentsguidecordblood.org This excellent resource provides extensive information for parents as well as a worldwide directory of cord blood banks.
Biovault Technical and Biovault Family
Biovault is a highly accredited human tissue bank and one of the largest in the UK. It is the only tissue bank that works with both the private and public sector, including the NHS. They are licensed by the Human Tissue Authority to process and store all types of human tissue and known in the industry to be the 'Gold Standard' when it comes to stem cell and tissue storage. They are also accredited by JACIE as they are the processing and storage facility for the NHS South West Peninsula Transplant Service, the only private tissue bank in the UK to be JACIE accredited.
Since 2003 Biovault has processed and stored cord blood and acted as a service provider to cord blood companies in the UK and around the world. Having received many requests from parents (who have used other cord blood banks) and from doctors, Biovault decided to make their services available to expectant parents. To do this, they launched Biovault Family in 2012.
You can find out more about Biovault family:
For more about the NHS cord blood bank go to:
- www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/cordblood/ or
- the Anthony Nolan cord blood bank visit www.anthonynolan.org/What-you-can-do/Donate-your-umbilical-cord.aspx
- Trotter S (2008). Cord blood banking and its implications for midwifery practice: time to review the evidence? Midirs Midwifery Digest 18: 2 159-164
Special offer for TIPS members
To mark 10 years as a tissue bank Biovault Family have kindly offered TIPS readers the chance to save £150 off the cost of cord blood banking. If you would like to take advantage of this offer all you have to do is quote TIPS10 when you apply for Biovault services online and the discount will be applied.
[back to top]
Something BIG is coming to Twycross Zoo…
They’re fearsome, they’re ferocious and they’re thrashing their way into Twycross Zoo in time for Easter 2013
See them in Dinosaur Valley, Twycross Zoo, Burton road, Twycross, Warwickshire CV9 3PX
Back from extinction and rip-roaringly frightening, dinosaurs will roam the earth once again in Dinosaur Valley at the Midlands’ top visitor attraction, Twycross Zoo.
Fifteen life-sized dinosaurs will be unleashed to the public on 28 March 2013 in what promises to be one of the most ground-breaking exhibitions the region has ever seen.
Towering tall with thrashing jaws, state-of-the-art animatronics will bring dinosaurs back to life in a way like never before, featuring realistic movements and fearful roars.
Dinosaur Valley will lead an exciting trail through prehistoric times giving visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close to the likes of the mighty Brachiosaurs, the terrifying T-Rex and the feathered Citipati, teaching the power of evolution and threat of extinction.
- Dinosaur Valley will feature 15 life-sized, realistic animatronic dinosaurs in a themed setting.
- It will open every day from 10am until 5.30pm - (late night openings will be announced soon) from Thursday 28 March until Monday 2 September 2013.
- Admission to Dinosaur Valley is included in the standard zoo admission.
- Twycross Zoo is one of the UK’s major zoos with approximately 500,000 visitors every year and houses around 1,000 animal species.
- Twycross Zoo won three BIAZA awards in 2011 (Best Educational Project, Significant advances in husbandry and welfare, Best new zoo enclosure).
- Twycross zoo takes part in many European and international breeding programmes and currently has over 200 species enrolled in captive breeding programmes. The zoo contributes to conservation through their Conservation Welfare Fund (which has raised nearly £200,000 since it was created in 2006). The fund has supported over 40 conservation and welfare projects in countries around the world.
- Now in its 49th year of business, Twycross Zoo is also the World Primate Centre and has endangered species such as Bonobos, Orang utans and Gorillas and houses.
- The Zoo’s Himalaya Centre includes a spacious 300 seat all-day restaurant and a shop with an array of toys, gifts and souvenirs, plus near enough every species of animal in cuddly toy form, and fair trade products! The zoo also has corporate event and private function facilities.
To find out more go to: www.twycrosszoo.org
For a chance to win tickets to the Twycross Zoo Dinosaur Valley check out mini-competition 4
[back to top]
Featured article :: Sunday Mail 3 February 2013
Caroline and Nick with their kids Ella, Emilia, Rosemarie, Nicholas and Evelyn
CAROLINE WOOD changed the names of two of her children after she realised she had made a mistake.
But the mum-of-five, from Girvan, Ayrshire, is relieved she made the decision rather than living with regret. You can read the full story here...
[back to top]
:: book reviews :: ::
100 Little Words on Parenthood
Written and published by Charlie Plunkett
Kindle version available on Amazon
Paperback version available from March 2013 RRP: £9.99
100 Little Words on Parenthood - As told by parents, grandparents and experts
This is a beautiful collection of anecdotes, poems, words of wisdom and humour on all aspects of parenthood. These have been compiled by author Charlie Plunkett with contributions from mums, dads, grandparents and experts who all share their experiences on what parenthood means to them in 100 words.
From the miracle of birth and those early days of sleep deprivation, breastfeeding and teething each childhood milestone is charted. First steps, funny things children say, toddlers, tantrums, teenagers and grandchildren are all celebrated in this book that will appeal to new parents, experienced parents, grandparents and those considering becoming parents.
100 little words about Charlie Plunkett by Sharon:
Last November Charlie asked if I would contribute to her book. I was intrigued and a little concerned at having to summarise all I knew about breastfeeding and baby skincare in only 100 words! Never one to turn down a challenge I got to work. I was surprised to find the process quite liberating. My contribution forms a tiny part of the rich tapestry of this lovely book which has already hooked me up with many new friends. You can find out more about Charlie and her adventures as a bride, mum-to-be and new parent on her blog at: http://www.charlieplunkett.co.uk/blog/
Also by Charlie Plunkett:
- The True Diary of a Bride-to-be
- The True Diary of a Mum-to-be
- The True Diary of a Baby’s First Year
Published by Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd RRP: £9.99 (Paperback) £1.91 (Kindle)
For a chance to win a copy of 100 Little Words about Parenthood check out mini-competition 1
[back to top]
One Little Baby
By Richard Dungworth and Jane Massey
One little baby in a cosy baby bed, one little baby with a busy day ahead.
Here is a book for every baby about every baby's day. From breakfast to playtime and story-time too, this is an enchanting interactive baby book full of hugs, kisses, tickles, and lots of talk about all the daily activities that babies love. With a lilting, lyrical rhyme, this is a perfect book for sharing at bedtime.
This little book is quite simply a delight from start to finish. I promise you and your baby will be enchanted.
For a chance to win a copy of One Little Baby check out mini-competition 2
[back to top]
Featured :: charity and special month of events
HeadSmart and Brain Tumour Awareness Month – March 2013
HeadSmart was created because families and healthcare professionals were concerned about the long delays in diagnosing children and young people with a brain tumour. Neil and Angela Dickson, founders of The Brain Tumour Charity, sadly experienced this first hand when their 16 year old daughter died from a brain tumour.
The Brain Tumour Charity (the charity behind HeadSmart) and Brain Tumour UK are now merging. This means the new larger charity will have a much greater impact and improve outcomes for everyone affected by a brain tumour -ultimately helping to save lives. HeadSmart will of course continue its work. The merger will be completed by the 1 March 2013 to coincide with the start of the UK-wide Brain Tumour Awareness Month. All money raised will support vital work to help save lives affected by brain tumours.
There are many way you can support Brain Tumour Awareness Month:
- Tea Parties - Mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month by setting up a tea party to raise money for this excellent cause. To find out more go to: http://bit.ly/VWCaUs
- Bandanas for Brains Tumours – wear a banana and contribute a £1 for research. To find out more go to: http://bit.ly/WF63Vs
Golf Days - Join the second Golf Day in the countryside of South East England where teams will fight it out on the golf course. There will also be an auction, raffle and other prizes up for grabs. To find out more go to: http://bit.ly/Wsyg3P
[back to top]
Featured video clip :: Tips When Flying With Children
Watch this British Airways video clip here...
With the Easter holidays just around the corner, British Airways has announced its investing in new products and services in 2013 to keep its younger customers entertained at the airport and in the air.
In the lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 children will start to see refreshed
- bright new furniture including beanbags and floor cushions
- talking mirrors on the walls
- sensory blocks and aviation-inspired toys for younger children
- power chargers for a range of mobile devices including smartphones an iPads.
In the Skyflyer Solo lounges, used by children travelling alone, there will be new facilities including:
- football tables
- balance boards
- mini fridges with complimentary snacks and drinks
- Vitra ‘Tip Ton’ chairs, designed by Barber Osgerby (the designers behind the London 2012 Olympic torch)
- ‘Allsorts’ ottomans from designers Davison Highley, specially created to look like liquorice allsorts sweets
British Airways has also teamed up with Microsoft to provide children with access to the latest in games technology: Xbox in the Kidszones and Xbox Kinec in the Skyflyer Solo lounges. With the Kinect console’s motion sensors, children can interact with the game using their bodies. Children will be able to choose from a number of games suitable for their ages including: Sesame Street, Forza (driving), Dance Central, FIFA football, Star Wars and National Geographic.
British Airways has also extended in-flight entertainment. Children will be able to watch their favourite films and TV programmes from when they board until they land. This will give parents time to relax and enjoy the flight.
Additionally, thousands of new Skyflyer packs with an activity book, crayons or pens will be given to children.
British Airways have published a video to help parents prepare for family trips. The short film gives top tips for families going through the airport - from check-in to arrival. It can be viewed on British Airways YouTube channel
For a chance to win a Skyflyer pack check out mini-competition 8
[back to top]
Featured DVD::London 2012 Olympic Games
London 2012 Olympic Games
Available in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray from BBC Worldwide - Set includes 5 disks with over 15 hours of coverage
If like me, you were captivated by the Olympic spirit in all its forms, you will love this DVD set. It will transport you back to the summer of 2012 letting you relive the magical memories that made it so special. From Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony to the inspiring and celebratory Closing Ceremony you will be able to enjoy many highlights of the historic, heart-warming and truly fantastic London 2012 Olympic Games, which united and enthralled the nation.
The London 2012 Olympic Games DVD collection features Danny Boyle’s re-edited version of the entire Opening Ceremony and a unique audio commentary from director Danny Boyle and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. This fascinating DVD extra feature offers a truly revealing and inspiring insight into the artistic direction and creative execution of one of the most watched television moments in recent history.
This fantastic DVD set also includes the Closing Ceremony in full and over seven hours of sporting highlights presented by Sue Barker and featuring the BBC’s unrivalled commentary team. Relive all of Team GB’s electrifying medal-winning victories and watch again intense sporting action from the Olympic Games: from the first gold medal-winning performances by rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning to the imperious time trial by Bradley Wiggins. Who can forget thrilling moments such as Michael Phelps’ record 19th Olympic medal, Katherine Grainger’s long-awaited gold, Andy Murray’s emotional victory, Usain Bolt’s 100m Olympic title or the amazing ‘Super Saturday’ when Ennis, Farah and Rutherford all won track and field gold medals in the space of a few glorious hours of each other?
For a chance to win a London 2012 Olympics DVD set check out mini-competition 3
[back to top]
Diary of a Student Midwife Down Under :: Part 2
Part 2 – March 2013
Hello everyone and welcome to my second instalment in Diary Of A Student Midwife Down Under. I thought that I would struggle to write my diary for this period, because one of the differences between my university education in Australia versus the UK is the amount of holidays over summer that we get. I finished my last placement in mid December and don’t go back to class until March so I was slightly concerned that I would have nothing to say because I haven’t had a class since my last instalment! The extended holidays are great in that I don’t have to arrange childcare for the school holidays, but it’s a fine balance between holidays and not having an opportunity to consolidate my clinical skills. For this reason I aim to schedule a Continuity of Care experience to keep me busy over the festive period.
Continuity of Care experiences as a student are part of prescribed midwifery practice experiences required for registration as a ‘Midwife’ with the Australian Health Professions Regulating Agency (AHPRA) through the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). They involve finding a pregnant woman who might be interested in the program, obtaining her consent to participate in the program, then attending as many of her appointments as possible both during pregnancy and after birth to offer her support, understand maternity care from her experience, and to expand in depth knowledge. While it is not always possible to attend the birth with the other requirements of the course as well as time demands of my own family, I am fortunate in that I have not missed one yet. From the end of first year I commenced my first CoC experience; the advice from my tutor is to always try to have a current experience in progress from second year onwards and so far I have just about achieved this.
The benefit of having such a scheme is that students are able to see how pregnancy and parenthood affects a woman and her family, rather than just a snapshot of their lives on any given day. We see the reaction to complications rather than just the diagnosis, and the strong impact choice of words can have on an individual going through her pregnancy journey. We are also given the time to research specifics of a pregnancy, and deepen our understanding of the importance of our role. It helps to teach us how to build a relationship with a woman, and regularly attending hospital or clinic appointments serves to start building a working relationship with other healthcare professionals. Most importantly it gives women the opportunity to have an extra support person throughout her pregnancy and I have seen firsthand how much this benefits some women.
However finding a woman who will participate in a Continuity of Care can be difficult. It is very common in internet parenting forums, in doctor’s surgeries, clinics and in playgroups to find cards, leaflets or adverts left by some student midwife desperately seeking a participant. If a friend of mine falls pregnant my response is usually “congratulations”, swiftly followed by “have you heard about the Continuity of Care program?”. It’s nerve wracking asking someone to agree to your involvement in their pregnancy. I have agonised over what to say at a first meeting and rehearsed my “sales” speech in the shower. Persuading someone to share such an integral part of their life is daunting, yet women agree time and time again and are generous with their time and experiences. Some are keen for extra support and a known caregiver during their labours, whilst others are just happy to support your education.
Today I said goodbye to the woman who I most recently participated in a Continuity of Care with. Her baby is now two weeks old and my time with her has come to an end. I attended many appointments and scans with her, including when she and her doctor were concerned the baby was not growing and she was incredibly anxious. I’ve reassured her when it became clear she was facing an induction of labour, and held her hand as her baby emerged into the world. She has kindly and gladly shared some of the most precious moments in her life with me, and these intimate moments shared create a bond and it is always difficult when the last appointment is finished and the relationship ends. I try to take something away from every experience, however small. Sometimes it is seeing a new procedure or medical condition; othertimes it is the sheer strength that a woman demonstrates as she overcomes anxieties and obstacles to become a mother. In this most recent case it will be the wonderful way this woman sang through her contractions, melodic and beautiful to hear, changing in tone and pitch as her baby moved down. Whilst no other woman might sing in the same way, I’ve learnt to listen to subtle differences in the woman’s voice as a guide to what is happening within her body.
However much it pains me to finish an experience, the active role of the midwife must eventually end and the intense relationship forged during pregnancy and labour quickly becomes a memory. A few weeks ago whilst shopping I bumped into a lady who was one of my Continuity of Care participants. And whilst I could remember her birth and the complications that ensued, I could not for the life of me remember her name. I guess that is one of the drawbacks of midwifery. We are involved so intimately in a life changing event, but when the journey of pregnancy moves on to the journey of motherhood we must take what we have learned, and say goodbye. I am meeting a woman who has verbally consented to allowing me to be her Continuity of Care student tomorrow, so whilst I leave my previous woman with a small tear I greet my new one with a slightly nervous but very excited smile.
Next time I write I will be beginning my third year, and will reflect on some of the difficulties in going to a new facility for a student placement.
[back to top]
Featured My Story :: Tongue-tie
Our latest My Story follows a mum’s journey, nine years ago, as she tried to get a diagnosis of tongue-tie followed by treatment by snipping.
This was only made possible after Professor Whitelaw of Southmead Hospital Bristol agreed to carry out Brandon’s tongue-tie division for the first time in 50 years! Thankfully the results were instant and breastfeeding was suddenly pain-free!
Sadly Channon’s next two children also suffered from tongue-tie but she now had the knowledge and contacts to access early treatment. This is an inspiring story but does highlight how much suffering can be experienced by parents who are unable to find the help and support they deserve.
[back to top]
*** latest news ***
TIPS Online Shop – new brands added
FREE P&P* for every order placed in March and April 2013!
TIPS provides independent advice about all aspects of parenting. This involves many hours of research by the TIPS Team. With no advertising revenue our only source of income are the TIPS trials. By using our online shop you will help TIPS continue to provide the very best impartial reviews of quality products for parents and babies. Have a look at our new TIPS Shop here...
New products are being added every week so we thought we would update you on the goodies you can buy (at great value prices). The products are listed under 3 categories:
1. TIPS products
Including Sharon’s book, award winning Babycare back to basics™ leaflets, our famous TIPS ducky (100% latex) and our personalised TIPS towel.
All would make perfect presents for new arrivals.
2. TIPS Award winning products
Including Doidy cups by Bickiepegs, Jackson Reece wipes, SnuggyBub pockets slings, Swimava Swim rings, Shea Mooti and the wonderful Tummy Tub baby bath. If there are any other products that you find hard to source and would like us to stock then do
3. Friends of TIPS...
This category features products by carefully selected brands that we hope you will enjoy buying at a unique TIPS discounted rate. This includes high quality fair-trade 100% organic cotton t-shirts and hats with fun and witty Lactivist slogans that will make you smile! We also have our TIPS Award winning Must-have book: The Blossom Method™ by Vivien Sabel – selling on TIPS for the cheapest price online £4.99!
* FREE P&P offer limited to one box of ten Jackson Reece baby wipes (due to weight)
[back to top]
:: TIPS top value :: Mumlin ::
Pack of three Mumlins cost £19.99 + P&P
Twins book costs £9.99
Mumlin is a stylish and practical alternative to a muslin. Mumlin was designed by Katy Hymas who quickly got fed up with grubby, inefficient muslins after the birth of her twin boys. Mumlin is a 'u' shaped piece of soft, absorbent cotton. It sits over both shoulders, is comfortable to wear and has been designed to ensure it stays put. Mumlin can be worn over the front or back depending on how you hold, feed, burp and wind baby. It can also be used as a bib on baby. It's easy to wash and small enough to keep handy at home or on the move.
Katy used her background in PR to help develop and promote her product since its launch in 2010. She has also co-written 'Twins' with Dr Karen Cooper. This book has reassuring, practical advice for parents of twins from pregnancy through to their first birthday.
For a chance to win 1 of 2 sets of 3 Mumlins check out mini-competition 7
[back to top]
:: TIPS top treat (or treats...) :: all at Sea::
All at Sea is the brainchild of part-time graphic designer Helen who is a work at home mum at the moment. Helen has an eye for detail and a lyrical turn of phrase. Like me, Helen contributed sections to our featured book: 100 Little Words on Parenthood (Helen’s sections are 'These Early Days' and 'A Fish Called Papa') - this is how I came across this unique company. Delightful as it is, All at Sea is far more than just a collection of jewellery.
All at Sea jewellery
The All at Sea jewellery collection may be small but it is perfectly formed and reasonably priced. It has been inspired by years of seaside holidays and a love of our coastline. Every item is handmade and each charm has been hand-cut in Helen’s tiny workshop on the Scottish west coast. Items can be personalised with names, initials, dates or a short message. Necklaces can be made any length and can be custom designed to order.
As soon as I saw the delicate pieces I just had to buy something. I chose a bracelet and necklace set, which I can't show you now as they are for my daughter’s birthday, but I would highly recommend any of the lovely pieces which are all unique. My order arrived quickly, gift-wrapped in a simple paper bag tied with string – see picture. So if you are looking for something special for a member of your family or for friends then look no further than All at Sea!
Arts and crafts
Helen is the founding member of local art and craft initiative By My Own Fair Hand and is working in conjunction with Craft Town Scotland to organise an autumn event. This will take place in September at the Barony Centre in West Kilbride. She is currently on the lookout for Scottish artists, designers and makers who would be interested in participating.
- More information is available on facebook: www.facebook.com/bymyownfairhandayrshire
Helen also writes a regular blog covering an eclectic range of topics from marking her husband’s 40th birthday to her baby daughter’s first babble of sounds that will one day become words. It's hard to describe how touching and life enhancing these poetic snap-shots of everyday life are, so here is one post that brought a tear to my eye:
4 February 2013:
Angels Gather Here
Were I beside you I should take your hand. Pull you from your corner seat and place your computer down.
We would wander the rooms of your home. Every corner and every door. Rest a hand on those awake, and place a kiss on sleeping babes.
Your reason to wake and your reason to come home. No matter what the day has brought.
I'd help you tell them they mean the world.
I'd steady your hand and I'd give you the words. To smooth a cheek and whisper love.
And you'd rest better knowing it's done.
For it is angels work - to talk of love.
Enough now, in our uncertain world... x
For a chance to win a Treasures necklace by All at Sea check out mini-competition 6
[back to top]
:: TIPS top tips ::
Men’s guide to fertility recently published by Eugin Clinic
One of Spain’s leading fertility clinics, Eugin Clinic have worked with leading psychiatrist, Max Pemberton and Dolores Cirera (clinical psychologist specialising in applied psychology of assisted reproduction at the Eugin clinic) to develop the Men’s Guide to fertility. Undergoing fertility treatment can be really stressful for couples, and studies show that men are often so focused on their partner’s well-being that they mask their own feelings and can often feel unsupported.With this guide, Eugin Clinic want to give men going through fertility treatment with their partner the information, advice and support they need to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. To download this free guide go to: http://bit.ly/12GrXzG
New Eugin Consultation Centre opens in London:
Research* published in September 2012 showed that nearly half (41%) of women undergoing Invitro Fertilization Treatment (IVF) in the UK don't feel adequately informed about treatment options available to them. The research also revealed that nearly 1 in 3 were left feeling incomplete (27%) and devastated (26%) by their inability to conceive.
The research was commissioned by Eugin Clinic in partnership with Infertility Network UK. The aim was to consider the motivation of British women for increasingly seeking fertility treatment abroad.
Spanish fertility treatment is considered to be among the leading Assisted Reproduction Treatment (ART) in Europe. Barcelona based Eugin Clinic performs approximately 1 in 10 of all European ART and has helped over 10,000 families since it opened in 1999. Eugin decided to open a London Consultation Centre as more and more British couples seek treatment at the Eugin Clinic in Barcelona. The London centre provides UK patients with additional information or reassurance about their fertility treatment before they travel to Barcelona.
- To find out more about Eugin Clinic go to: www.eugin.co.uk
*Survey: Research was carried out via online survey hosted on Infertility Network UK. 100 UK women who were currently undergoing or have recently undergone IVF treatment responded to the survey during August 2012.
The Little Book of BIG Scams
Scams (or frauds) are often difficult to investigate. They can be complicated and many people (both victims and suspects) are often involved. It takes a lot of police resources to investigate scams and courts can find it difficult to convict suspects so any advice that can help to reduce such crime would be useful.
The best way to prevent scams is for the general public to be more aware of what scammers do.
This is why the Metropolitan Police Service’s Operation Sterling Team has published the Little Book of BIG Scams. Originally developed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the book aims is to increase awareness of a vast array of scams - it also includes lots of hints and tips on how to protect yourself from scammers.
Consumer champion Esther Rantzen wrote the foreword for The Little Book of BIG Scams. The booklet talks about identity fraud, mass market scam mail, door-to-door scammers, dating, banking, mobile phone, health, investment, competition and internet scams. It's a general guide to many of the scams currently operating in the UK.
Unpackaged is a unique grocery shop. Customers bring their own containers to refill with everything from olive oil to washing up liquid. This lets customers buy just the amount they want or need. This prevents waste and saves money. It's also very good for the environment: much less waste goes to landfill.
In December 2012, after 5 successful years in Islington, founder Catherine Conway joined forces with local chef Kate de Syllas and relocated Unpackaged to a bigger premises in Hackney. The new store includes a café and bar. Critically acclaimed chef, Kate de Syllas runs the café and bar. Both offer samples of her contemporary, global cuisine, based on local and seasonal ingredients.
As well as being a clever idea, the Unpackaged shop makes perfect sense in a world where we need to protect the environment. This new trend in minimalist shopping might be a good place to start for anyone looking to become an eco-friendly shopper…
[back to top]