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I have had a Boots Advantage card for a couple of years and it is by far the best card, you really do get rewarded well, and un-like many other 'Advantage' cards you don't get coupons through the post, you just spend money and get money back, brilliant. Being a mum and trusty housewife I am responsible for the majority of the household shopping, from groceries to nappies and have every possible reward card that is available. With most of the club cards your points are accumilated and you are sent money off coupons, on usually a quarterly basis. More often than not these coupons are put in my purse and quite frankly forgotten about (not such a trusty housewife there then !) Its only when I dig them out of my purse and realise that the expiry date is long gone and they are thrown in the bin. With the Boots Advantage card your points just stack up and as long as you have enough points for the item you want to purchase you can do so. You don't get points for everything, its only goods that have an asterisk are eligible for points or can be redeemed. When I go to Boots, which is every week for baby food, nappies etc I slip my card into the machine and here is where you get your coupons. There is usually a coupon for 250 points when you spend over £25, and 500 points for over £50 (thats £5 back) Boots normally have a double points weekend every month and just last week I got an extra 500 points for some perfume I bought for my mum, plus 500 points as I spent over £50, thats an amazing £10 back on my card !! If you don't have one already please get one, especially if you have a baby and are buying nappies and jars/packets of food. It really is a reward card with REAL rewards.
My father died 7 weeks ago although it was very sudden, Christmas is going to be very strange without him. My Dad loved Christmas, it was his favourite time of year and as we start to count those weeks until the big day, for my family its going to be a christmas we will never forget. We have decided as a family, I have 2 brothers who are older than me and have children of their own, to spend Christmas Day together. It seems the right and best thing to do. For the last 3 weeks my Mum and I have thrown ourselves into Christmas Shopping, which has helped to ease the pain of grieving, but not my bank account. My Mum and Dad have 4 Grandchildren, 1 of them being Jack who is only 1, so we can't spend the whole of Christmas time crying into our mince pies, its them we have to think about. I hope that everyone who will be spending Christmas alone, albeit out of choice or because they have lost a loved one, remembers the children as they are the ones who look forward to Christmas all year around, and for them we should be happy, regardless of any pain we are feeling inside. I saw an interview with Cilla Black a few weeks ago, and she said "Christmas is just one day, look forward not back" She is so right. I miss my dad every day so why should the fact that its Christmas make any difference to the way that I miss him ? I am lucky in that I have a close family and and a close relationship with my Mum, so I have a feeling that Christmas this year will be a good one, it will be tough and no doubt a few tears shed, but life does carry on whether its Christmas or not. Have a Happy Christmas everyone !
**UPDATED DUE TO A FURTHER PERSONAL EXPERIENCE** My Dad had to go into hospital about 7-8 weeks ago with severe Anaemia, he was given 2 units of blood and felt much better. A few more tests were carried out as he was still suffering with breathlessness, they found he had a disorder called Endocarditis, which is treated with Antibiotics by injection. He had undergone 2 weeks of a 4 week course of antibiotics, when he suddenly suffered a stroke, which left him paralysed down his right side, unable to swallow, talk, and spent most of the day sleeping. His heart began to beat out of control and he was given medicine to slow it down, if this didn't work then they would have to shock his heart into beating 'normally' The Doctors were worried that this was going to happen again and cause another stroke, so my mum had to make a decision about 'how far to take treatment' for my dad. That night at 11.12 pm my dad suffered another massive stroke and he died. The Doctors 'tried to revive' him but as my dad didn't ever want to 'exist' they let him go. It was hard to see him in the hospital bed before he died, a man who made everyone laugh, and was loved by many, lying in a semi-conscious state, unable to do anything but squeeze my hand. If he had survived the second stroke, my dad would of spent the rest of his days in hospital and we cannot begin to imagine what sort of state he would of been in. He is in a better place, where he will feel no pain, and I am glad he was allowed and ABLE to die a proud man. Today 13.11.2000 my dad would of been 66, not even retired, that is what makes this so sad, that he worked so hard but could not even enjoy the fruits of his labour. I dedicate this opinion to you dad, for you totally agreed that Euthanasia should be allowed in this country. **ORIGINAL OINION** Euthanasia is a very difficult subject to discuss, especially when you h ave had someone in your family, suffer an incurable disease, and having to watch them loose their will for life and their dignity. My nan had Alzheimers Disease, which is a serious disorder of the brain manifesting itself in premature senility. She was a very gracious lady, and worked into her 70's. It started quite quickly and after a couple of years she didn't recognise her own family, she would steal clothes from other ladies in the home, and often talk a lot of nonsense. When she died she weighed about 4 stone, was totally bed ridden, had pneumonia and didn't know that the person sat beside her bed through her last hours was her daughter. It is very sad that she had to suffer so much just to be released by dying. I know that if my parents could of signed something to of made her dying days more, 'comfortable' then they would of done. Euthanasia is not an excuse to kill off anyone who is in pain, or anyone who doesn't want to carry on anymore. It should be discussed with family and written into a will, even before anyone is ill. I personally would not want to suffer, and I know that all of my family feel very strongly that we should be given a choice. We have 2 cats and a dog, whom we love very much, but at the slightest hint of suffering we are told, "It is only fair to put he/she to sleep" You don't want to see your animals suffer do you ? I feel that unless you know how and what it feels like to see someone, in pain, not even know they are going to the toilet, not recognise their own children. Then you cannot even begin to imagine how much better their life would be if they were given a choice to die, not to mention everyone that is left behind, as its those who have to carry the last treasured memories of that person. How do you want to be remembered ? R.I.P Dad, 10.10.2000 XXX
We installed 2 KIDDE smoke detectors when I was pregnant, fearing the worst to happen with a new baby, we decided that it was the right time. It was infact 3 years after we moved in and we are so lucky that nothing happened in that time. They were about £3.99 each and are quite small and inoffensive looking. I have seen several adverts and heard so many stories of house fires, where the parents get out alive and the children don't. Its sad but true, people who have smoke detectors but either don't put in new batteries or don't even bother with batteries, or people who don't have smoke detectors at all ! Need to have the scare stories thrown at them over and over again, most people act on this quite quickly but some don't. At about 5 am this morning 1 of our smoke detectors decided that its batteries were running low, and every 5 minutes let off a short, very loud bleep, it did wake me up. So today I bought a new battery and replaced the old one. There has been over the last few weeks a big campaign for fires and every household should of received a copy of the Home Offices leaflet "Fire kills, YOU can prevent it" It sets out easily and clearly what you should do to help save lives. Number 1 being 'fit smoke detectors' and keeping doors shut at night. It also tells you what to do if there is a fire and also to make a plan for your escape which your normal way in and out of your home is best, also decide on a different route, tell all the family, and keep them clear. If you have not had a copy of this leaflet then ring this number, 0800 169 1697 Its well worth it. You can even visit their web site at: www.comminity-fire-safety.org.uk Please Make your plan, get smoke detectors and get out alive !
I hate cooking, soooo much its not true. No matter what I try and cook it turns out a black, charcoaled mess. However give me a cookery show and i'll sit and watch that like I really know what they are doing !! Why do I watch them ? Even my husband cannot understand it, its not even like I go off and try to replicate that days viewing for his tea !! Ready steady cook has got so much better now that the lovely Ainsley is in control. I liked Fern Britton in a neighbourly sort of way, she was, well NICE I suppose. Ainsley notices a lot more about what ingredients are being used and how things are made and there is no faffing around, he also can't help but have a toss of the old frying pan too ! Ready Steady Cook is now on for 45 minutes and as well as the normal 2 contestant, 2 bag, 20 minute scenario they have also included another 10 minute slot where Ainsley produces a bag and the 2 chefs tell all what they are going to create and the audience decides whose masterpiece they want to watch being made. Ainsley is in his element and is the assistant chef and is normally whipping or chopping something. I am glad that Ready Steady Cook lives on along with my favourite chef James Martin !! Say no more !
I have just sat and watched Eastenders for the first time in about 3 weeks. The storylines were starting to get boring and really didn't interest me at all, however the story with Ethel and Dot at the moment is very touching. I could hardly watch tonight for the tears, I thought that both June and Gretchen played their parts brilliantly. Its a good storyline to keep bringing up as so many people want Euthanasia to become legal. I think that the friendship that they show is very true and Ethel reminds me a lot of my nan, and boy did she suffer !! I was only a teenager when she was ill but I know that she didn't know who any of us were for about 2 years, so I can understand why Ethel wants to go, before she turns into a 'Lump' I applaude the writers of Eastenders for tackling a very delicate subject that needs to be addressed, and i'm still wiping the tears from my face ! Brilliant.
*UPDATED* Its renewal time in my house, and the renewal form came through the post, but hello, its gone up by £120 !!! I was totally gobsmacked. Off I trotted to Direct line and the AA, and found that all the prices were much the same, give or take £20. My last attempt was with Churchill, their quote was £130 cheaper that all the others, with the same cover. I rang Royal Sun Alliance and they just said "Oh well, renewal prices are more expensive this year, blah, blah" Please please shop around, its well worth it. *ORIGINAL OPINION* I used to work for these guys about 8 years ago, before they merged with Sun Alliance and were then called The Insurance Service. They offer good car insurance if you are not "A risk" they have several criteria, age, type of car, convictions, health etc and will just not quote if you pose to be a risk. I used to drive an XR2 and they would not insure that car, but when I changed to the VW Polo their price was cheaper than anywhere else, plus everything is dealt with over the phone. We had to claim a few months ago and there were no forms (like the old days) and within a week the car was collected and brought back all repaired and cleaned inside and out, brilliant. We are now going through the process of changing the car and I know that we will have to pay more as the car is new, but compared to Direct Line their overall quote on-line was £40 cheaper, if I was to take out a new policy !! If you have not tried them then doo so, as they can give you a better quote, but remember the criteria, and don't take it personally if you don't fit it, its why I get cheaper car insurance !!
I suffered with a brain Aneurism and had to have a craniotomy (brain surgery) to clip the little blighter. I was 18 at the time and was told very little about the outcome by my family, all I was told was that I would have to have my head shaved. I have blonde hair and was hairdressing at the time and it was like the world had ended. I am sure that if I had know more about what 'could of been' my recovery would of been a lot slower and for that I am very grateful. After the operation, it felt like I was looking out at everyone and I KNEW that I was okay, but I couldn't tell them. I can't remember much from the first 48 hours after the op, and was only in hospital for 8 days. I had great support from all my family and friends and know that if I hadn't of laughed a lot things would of taken longer to heal (even though it hurt to laugh) I was off work for a total of 8 weeks, and I know that if you think positive it really does make such a difference. It now feels like a lifetime ago that I was ill (12 years), and a lot of the time I forget it even happened, and its only the scar from ear to ear that reminds me, but then 3 years ago my big brother had the same thing happen to him, it was like reliving the whole thing over again, but along with my Positive thinking we all got through it again. I am now the proud mum of a beautiful boy, which I thought I would never have and he was born by caesarean section (I didn't want to push) I have such a lot to be grateful for, and know that my positive thinking, family and the brain surgeons at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, helped me. Please, whatever life throws at you, just think positive!
After finding that Jack would only eat Boots Organics jars, ohh and my food too! I decided to try the Hipp ones as well, I felt that he was getting a bit bored with the same few recipes and the Hipp jars had some different flavours. Well he loves these as much as the Boots ones, and to me they taste just as good!! Its great if you can give your kids food that you have made and Jack will only have a jar at lunchtime for convenience, as normally we are out somewhere and cannot take frozen "homemade" food with me. He really does love the jars and I feel that if I am going to give him processed food I would much rather it was Organic!! The only trouble is that Organic food is much more expensive, and at 59p per jar its a lot each day!!
I used this little bag, when I went out. Its easier than the mats that come with the bag and you can have all your essentials to hand. Its a changing mat with 2 net pockets either side, where you can put the nappies and wipes/nappy sacks. It fits flat into your handbag or changing bag, and unfolds to a full size changing mat. When folded it has a velcro faster, and a carrying strap which means it can be attached to your buggy or pram and it even comes with a re-useable plastic wipes container. I used this constantly for the first 6 months, until Jack decided that crawling about was much more fun and after several embarassing accidents (Pee,pee on peoples carpets) I decided that this mat was too small and moved to the care mats (see opinion) However this little kit was brilliant and meant that you wern't fumbling around in your changing bag for all your bits, they were there ready when you unfolded the mat ! Great.
This programme is brilliant, Anne Robinson is the rudist game show host on telly and the contestants, look scared, well, stiff !! There are 9 contestants and to start the show they have 3 minutes to each answer a question in turn, after every correct answer they climb up the ladder to the £1000, however if someone gets a question wrong then the link is broken and they start back at £0. Before they are asked a question they can bank what moneys have accumilated, and again start at £0. When the 3 minutes are up, each contestant can vote someone as the weakest link, it can either be bacause they didn't answer a question correctly, or because they lost some of the money when they answered a question incorrectly and didn't bank, or even because they are wasting time. Eventually there are 2 left battling head2head for the winnings which can be anything from £500 to £10,000 (if they are lucky) Anne Robinson is like an Alsation having a bad hair day, she almost growls, and interregates the contestants like a frustrated old maid, but she shows no emotion and the contestants wince like school children. Its an entertaining 45 minutes and well worth a watch. It always seems that who you think is the weakest link, goes onto win !!
I wish I had bought this book right at the beginning !! Gina Ford is a leading maternity nurse and her key is Routine and if you don't like that word, then don't buy her book !! I Was lucky and Jack slipped into his own routine by 4 months, but there are things that I wished I had done earlier. Gina Ford has written this book based on twelve years of research and study of natural sleep rhythms and feeding patterns of young babies. She has set out simple guidelines to follow and there are routines for the first year, which include when to feed, dress, bath and change your babies nappy !! Although everyones baby won't slot into a routine its beneficial to at least establish some kind of routine every day. She advises that babies should always sleep in the dark, with black out blinds and no light at all, and that they should be woken from naps naturally, by opening the curtains. Its a really good book and we have been following it, to a certain extent for the last 6 weeks. It has been mainly with Jacks mealtimes, that are now at the same time every day, regardless of where we are. I am sure that following this book with a newborn is totally impossible, a friend did try but gave up and started again at 8 weeks, there are certainly some good tips and ideas and I will try with the next, hehe !!
Last night we watched on SKY box office "Austin Powers The Spy who Shagged me" It is just as brilliant as the first. Mike Myers is hilarious playing Austin Powers and even better as Dr Evil, and I just loved the little guy who played "Mini me" There is so much happening in this film that you really need to watch it several times just to catch all the one liners. The best thing about this sequel is that Liz Hurley isn't in it, she was false in the first one and that spoilt it for me. Jerry Springer also makes a brilliant appearance in this film and this part had me in stitches. This really does appeal to my sense of humour, its stupid, childish, predictable but totally brilliant. Austin Powers has had his mojo stolen by Fat B*****D, so that Dr Evil can take over the world, by blowing up major cities around the globe with his giant "Laser" Without his mojo Austin is well, powerless. Agent Shagwell helps Austin to defeat Dr Evil and regain his mojo. Its a brilliant film and I know that once on SKY movies I will watch it again, and again and again !! I just hope there is another as they seem to get funnier.
I am a bit of a shampoo and conditioner freak, and tend to try different things nearly every month, A) Because I feel that you should change shampoos and conditioners regularly as they tend to coat your hair and a nasty build up happens and B) Because I like to try new things, and will give anything the benifit of doubt ! So as I was wandering the isles of Boots the other week I spotted Umberto Giannini's range of hair products, from shampoos and conditioners to styling products and thought I would give them a go. I have neither straight hair nor curly its kind of inbetween and some days are straigter than others, but oh how I would love to have straight hair ! So when I saw the 'Sleek and chic straightening' shampoo and conditioner I thought this is the one for me. Umberto claims that his products 'Do what they say' and to combat frizz then this is the stuff for you. You need very little shampoo and I have medium shoulder length hair, and the conditioner is also great because again you need very little, and when you add water it makes it thicker and it is then easier to distribute evenly throughout your hair. I did not buy his styling products but will try them out in the next few weeks. My hair is not suffering with that bit of frizz and is, I think a bit straighter. However since I bought it, my hair has been constantly up out of Jacks reach as he has decided that pulling hair is very funny !! Its quite expensive and at £4.00 for the shampoo (250 ml) and £4.25 (250 ml) for the conditioner, It is more epensive than your run of the mill products. It does however seem to last much longer as you don't need so much at each application.
I have several styles of bibs but prefer the pull over ones to any of the others. The velcro style dig in the back of Jacks neck when he has his bottles and also leaves a nasty red mark, the tie up style are useless and I have not used any that I have and Jack cries when I go anywhere near him with the plastic style. The pop over ones are brilliant and look really comfortable, they also cover their shoulders too, which is great when you are feeding them and they decide to rub their face on their shoulder. The only thing to remember with this style of bib is that when its really dirty, ie covered in food, then pull the back of the bib over the back of the head to the front this ensures that your babies face is not covered (well more than it is already, if you are as bad an aim as I am) in what they ate for lunch. Also don't get all light coloured bibs, as the Jars of food stain the bibs badly and no end of washing will get the stains out. Unless you know something I don't and if you do please tell me, as long as it doesn't involve bleach. I have invested in several dark blue bibs for Jack so the stains don't show !