Thursday, 3 November 2016

Keep Your Dog Happy With YuCALM

Modern life can be stressful for dogs and according to a recent report by the PDSA, 80% of dogs can show signs of anxiety or fearfulness. Some can experience behaviour problems like firework fears, other dogs, new situations or being left alone and owners are often at a loss as to how to help their furry friends. 

Now, our dog Milo has always been a fairly relaxed and chilled out little pooch but over the past year we've noticed he's become rather nervous and afraid over thunderstorms, heavy rain and car journeys. To see his whole demeanor change within an instant is just completely heart breaking and now with firework season in full swing, most nights are becoming a bit of a challenge too.

As dog owners we tend to get to know the usual signs of anxiety within our own dogs - such as lip licking, panting, quivering and restlessness, and so after trying out a couple of products which actually did little help for Milo, I was rather excited to receive a neat little comfort pack for him. A comfort pack which contained five elements that are vital for a dogs happiness.

The experts at Lintbells has launched YuCALM Dog. The new, natural supplement which offers an effective way to help reduce stress, allowing dogs to feel much happier and more playful. The clever combination of scientifically proven ingredients such as lemon balm, fish protein hydrolyslate and B vitamins make a tail-wagging difference. It's also the only 'triple action' natural calming supplement for dogs, with an innovative formula that gets to work in three ways, unlocking some rather clever chemicals called neurotransmitters which affect how your dog's brain works. Clever huh?

YuCALM Dog can be given short term to combat a specific trigger event - such as holiday travel, fireworks or for as long as it's needed by dogs with nervous or fearful temperaments, and it's now available from veterinary practices, pet shops and online retailers.

With bonfire night just around the corner I'm already trying to get organised so I can prepare not only for Milo, but myself too. Here are a few DO's and DON'Ts to prepare you and your dog for the firework season:
  • Do - keep your dog safe indoors.
  • Do - provide a safe hiding place, such as a tent or pet bed in a quiet place.
  • Do - close the curtains or blinds and if necessary drape over additional fabric to muffle noise and flashes of light.
  • Do - act calmly and normally, providing too much fuss can actually reinforce the idea that there is something to be afraid of.
  • Do - take you dog for a long walk during the day so they are more likely to rest or sleep in the evening.
  • Do - think about using a supplement or other aid to help your dog feel calm and relaxed.
  • Do - make sure the environment is safe if your dog starts to react in an uncharacteristic way.
  • Do - ask your vet or certified animal behaviourist for advice about longer term training.
  • Don't - keep the house in silence, a radio or TV can help mask the noise of fireworks.
  • Don't - leave your dog alone at night if at all possible.

Sparks certainly won't fly in our house this bonfire night. Well, I hope not...

Monday, 5 September 2016

Being Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes At 30

My broken pancreas is now two years old.

Rewind back to 5th September 2014 and my world got turned upside down at the age of thirty. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

So now enters my new lifelong friends Novorapid and Tresiba. Along with glucose tests, visits to my consultant every six months, HBA1C tests, yearly eye and foot screenings and worst of all injections.

How did I get here?

The truth is that I didn't do anything, and eating copious amounts of sugar didn't really make my pancreas pack in which some people are led to believe.

How did it all start?

About two/three weeks prior to be diagnosed my thirst intake shot through the roof. I was peeing like a race horse, I constantly had a mouth like Ghandi's flip flops and was losing a fair bit of weight but not thinking to much about it, I just figured my body tricked itself into being thirsty all the time. Naive I know. 

The day before I got admitted to hospital I was at at my mother in-laws for dinner, and I ended up chatting to my father in-law about his type 2 diabetes and how he manages his through diet alone. After quickly mentioning a few of the symptoms I was dealing with, he was back downstairs with his glucose meter quicker than you could say "suck on a lollipop." My sugar levels were 29mmol/L, now for a 'normal' person, sugar levels should be anywhere between 4-7mmol/L. Fast forward to the morning and my father in-law once again tested me and still being extremely high he suggested I seek medical help ASAP. That morning I managed to see my GP and after testing my urine, I was shoved with admission papers and was told to go to A&E promptly.

I stayed in hospital over the weekend to get my sugar levels stabilised and learned just how poorly I truly was. Turns out my body was hours away of shutting down because my blood had become so acidic. The doctors were rather surprised at how well I was feeling and how my body actually coped for so long.

What now?

Well, since September 2014 I've been doing four/five injections of insulin a day with the odd adjustment here and there and I've done my fare share of glucose tests. Over 4380 of them to be precise. But who's counting? I've met my consultant and diabetic nurse numerous of times, completed my DAFNE course and on top of all that, I've had to deal with those dreaded hypos.

For those of you that don't know what hypos are, it's when your blood sugar level drops below 4mmol/L. When it's low like that I usually stuff my face with some jelly babies, take a couple of swigs of orange juice or have whatever else I can get my hands on that will raise it quick. Hypos are a bitch. They can come on really quickly and when I see anything below 4mmol/L on my meter I tut, and feel annoyed and sad. I then spend the next couple of minutes stressing about how it happened, how it can be avoided and with firm awareness to myself, try and not make that mistake again.

Diabetes is a lot of numbers and math that can sometimes lead to rather infuriating outcomes that can in turn, affect my long term health. However I'm extremely happy that we live in this day and age where diabetes isn't a death sentence anymore. Over these past two years I've learnt so much and I've learnt to not let my diabetes define me as a person, although it does form the foundations of how I live my life now.

But, for the moment I'm going to have my cake and eat it. Today I am happy. Here's to two great years of being T1D!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Am I Being The Best Mother I Can Be?

Ask that question to my children and I'm probably the best mum in the world...

One of my biggest frustrations I've felt as a mum is that I always tend to second guess my abilities as a parent to Joshua and Sophie and that occasionally, I do end up comparing myself to others. Now, I know this is something I need to work on because I can not and will not spend the rest of my life constantly questioning myself over my own parenting.

I may not be perfect and I may have my imperfections but out of all of that, I know my children are loved and cared for unconditionally and it shows by how happy they are.

Everyday I'm learning and finding my way through family life but I suppose it's all part and parcel of being a mum and I know that I'm certainly not alone. Children don't come with a manual (we've all realised that one) but how can we become a mother who knows she is not only good, but the best.

Don't try to be perfect

Accept that sometimes your house will be untidy, that there will be a pile of washing in the corner, that perhaps once in a blue moon dinner will be a takeaway, or that the kids will have to entertain themselves whilst you get your shit together. I find striving for perfection is always going to be a bad idea because life itself is hectic, and having children added to that can get rather unpredictable at times.

Get rid of the guilt

Guilt seems to be a common feeling in motherhood. I know that. It's something I encounter near enough every week and it's definitely something I'm trying to work on. Remember that once you've made a decision, whether it be about discipline or letting your child play on the iPad, try to stop second guessing yourself. You are doing the best you can and remember that no mother is perfect nor are they alike.

Remember who you are

As mothers we always put our children's needs before ours and sometimes after a while we end up forgetting who we are. Remember that you're not just a mum, but a woman and a friend too. We still have our passions and our hobbies, so it's very important to find time for the things you love doing, even if you don't get to do them as often as before.


I'm being completely honest and I find it rather hard sometimes to let Joshua have his say. As parents we think we know everything and to some extent it's true, so perhaps we do tend to cut them short and not really listen. I think the less we listen, the less our children will come to us in the future, which for me is something I want to avoid. So listen. Really listen.

Have fun

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in 'mum life' that we forget to relax and enjoy ourselves. Childhood is fun and just because we've grown up, doesn't mean we need to forget what fun is and have less of it. So enjoy the fun moments with your children, because blink and they'll be grown up and not wanting to play zombies who likes to eat brains.

Being the best mum you can be doesn't mean you have to be perfect but remembering that you're always good at the important things.