Mother Distracted

Mother Distracted

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Friday, 9 December 2016

Tips To Soothe Your Sore Aching Feet

This is the time of year when our feet tend to take even more of a pounding than usual.  There's the miles walked for Christmas shopping or in the sales and braving heels for the office party for a start.

Woman in pink dress resting her feet from white high heels

And think how hard it must be for shop workers, nurses, care assistants and emergency service workers who are on their feet all day with little respite.

So how can we soothe our aching feet when we get home.  And how do we know when our feet need some professional care?

Did you know that there are over 300 different foot conditions, many of which are caused by poor fitting footwear?

Our feet have an incredible 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and 100 ligaments and their condition is a very good indicator of how healthy we are.

If you have ever had an incredibly relaxing reflexology session, you'll know that an experienced therapist can quickly tell you what's going on in your body just by massaging your feet.

Here are some of the common foot problems that may be causing you discomfort.

Heel Pain

There are various types of heel pain and the more common ones are conditions such as Heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) Heel bursitis (subcalcaneal bursitis) and Heel bumps.

They are very common and the pain is generally caused by some form of mechanical injury caused by small repetitive injuries that occur at a rate faster than the body can heal them.

Your heel pain could also be caused by lower back problems or inflammatory joint conditions.

The most common of all is Heel spurs (plantar fasciitis or fasciosis) which can be caused in various ways such as extensive running/walking/standing for long periods of time, especially when you are not used to it.  It can equally be caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

Heel pain is a common condition and in most cases will diminish following some routine self-care measures but if the pain persists longer than three weeks, it is best to seek professional advice from someone who specialises in heel pain, such as a podiatrist or chiropodist.

Heel pain can affect everyone, whatever your age, but those more commonly affected include those in middle age (over 40’s age group) as well as athletes.

Simple Self Care Treatment

Avoid wearing ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes.  Make sure that your shoes fit the width of your foot as well as the length.  There is a much greater choice of wide fit shoes on the market these days.

Wear shoes which cushion your heel and give you good arch support.

Avoid walking or exercising on hard ground if you can.

Rest regularly and try not to walk or run too fast.

Wear a raised heel (no more than 6-10 mm higher than normal).

Coloured trainers in a circle


Did you know that more than 15% of women in the UK suffer from bunions?  A bunion is a deformity of the big toe where the toe angles towards the second toe and creates a bony lump on the aside of the foot.

This can also form a large sac of fluid called a bursa which can become inflamed and sore.

They are caused by a problem with the mechanics of the foot which is often genetic - surprisingly your footwear may not be the actual cause!

The eventual crossover of the toes can make it difficult to walk and tends to get progressively worse. Before you jump back into your heels though, be aware that badly fitted shoes will make the problem worse because they will squeeze the toes together.

Eventually surgery may be required but there are things you can do to help yourself.

Simple Self Care Treatment

Buy wider shoes that give your toes plenty of room to move and limit heel height to no more than 4 cm for maximum comfort.

Avoid backless heels because they make your toes "claw" as you walk which will strain your muscles if you wear them for long periods of time.

Vary the height of your heels from day to day and if you have to wear the same shoe every day, try to keep the heel height to 4 cm or less.

Shoes with straps or laces over your instep can also help to stop your foot sliding forward and aggravating the bump.

Simple calf stretches will help to keep your feet in good working order.

Athletes Foot

This is a fungal skin infection which can cause intense itching and gives cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin with redness and scaling.

It usually appears between the fourth and fifth toes at first where the skin has become overly moist. It can also appear as dry flaky skin around the heels or elsewhere on the foot.

If left untreated, large painful fissures can appear and the infection can spread along all five toes and even to the soles of the feet.

You can catch Athletes Foot from someone else's shedded infected skin so communal changing areas and anywhere you walk around barefoot are hotspots. It can also be passed on directly from person to person contact.

Leaving your feet in hot sweaty shoes or trainers is not going to help!

Simple Self Care Treatment

The number one rule is to make sure your feet are completely dry after washing before you then put your shoes and socks on.

Try to change your footwear regularly because it takes 24-48 hours for shoes to dry out properly.

You can dry out your work shoes by using a hairdryer on a cold setting and remove any detachable insoles.

Don't wear your shoes too tight because this encourages moisture to gather between your toes and encourages fungus.

Choose shoes made from natural materials and change your socks daily.

Wear flip-flops in the bathroom and in public showers.

Don't wear anyone else’s shoes, trainers or slippers.

Restore moisture to the dry areas of your feet with an anti-fungal cream or spray and remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards (or use disposable gloves).

If your Athlete’s Foot has been caused by excessive moisture (those hot, sweaty shoes again), then wash your feet in cold water, dab try with a separate towel and dab between the toes with surgical spirit.  Applying a moisturising cream will just make things worse.

Make sure you keep up the regimen for as long as possible because even if the symptoms vanish, it's possible for the fungus to return.

Sweaty Feet

Being on your feet all day can lead to excessive sweatiness and, whilst the weather can affect you, sweaty feet can also be an inherited condition.

The condition needs managing because sweaty feet can lead to Athletes Foot or blisters, not to mention unpleasant odour.

Simple Self Care Treatment

Stick to a daily foot hygiene routine, washing with an anti-bacterial soap.

Don't wear the same shoes every day.

Choose socks made from a material that absorbs sweat - e.g. wool and cotton.

Try detachable insoles or medicated one which can deodorise your shoes.

Buy well fitting leather shoes.

If you are worried about your foot condition then see your GP who may be able to refer you to an NHS Podiatrist or, if you have the funds, a private Podiatrist.

You can find more information on a variety of foot conditions at The Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists.

My Problem Page - What Was I Asked In Week 49?

This week I'm talking about jobless partners, mums at the end of their tether and what to do when your boyfriend insists you slim down.

Man and woman hugging in the snow

If you would like any advice, feel free to message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here's this week's questions.

Q: What does he mean when he says this? He needs to cut contact with me and that it is going to make things easy.

A: Since there’s so little information in your question, I’m going to assume that you’re splitting up.

I’m also assuming that you are the one leaving and that your boyfriend is having a hard time dealing with this so he is going to cut contact so that he can move on without being hurt any more.

Or, if he is leaving you, he is trying to be kind and save you further pain. 

It is a little odd to make a pronouncement like this. Often, people who don’t want to be in touch just stop. I wonder if there is a chance to save things if the two of you sit down and talk?

I wonder why you don’t understand what he means - perhaps you don’t want to believe that he will go?

With knowing more it’s hard for anyone to say but it sounds like some serious talking is needed. 

Cutting all contact seems dramatic and, despite the fact he says it will make things ‘easy’, rather hurtful.

But then, if you have hurt him perhaps by being unfaithful, that is not surprising.

I think it will be easier for both of you if you deal with whatever has gone on as adults so you can move forward without this situation (whatever it is) hanging over you.

Q: Should I leave my fat, jobless boyfriend?

My boyfriend of 6 years is in his 50s and lost his job 7 months ago. He was always a bit hefty but now he has ballooned and is very lazy. His joblessness is also breaking me financially as I have serious family obligations. I honestly don’t want to be with him anymore but guilt is keeping me with him.

A: Given the tone of your question, it’s clear you really have had enough of him. 

You don’t say what the relationship was like before he lost his job and sine you describe him as ‘hefty’ it doesn’t sound like there has been much romance there for quite a while. 

I wonder if his income was the main reason you have stayed around for so long since you say you have ‘serious family obligations’.

I understand that it must be very frustrating to have him around the house all day if he is not doing anything to find another job but have you considered that his age may be against him, and also that he may be a little depressed. 

Whilst you don’t want to continue the relationship I think you should show a little sympathy to his situation. 

You have a choice. You can either tell him it’s over now (which would be kinder given the way you talk about him) or tell him under what circumstances you would be prepared to stay - i.e. lose the weight, look for work, help with the housework. 

Have you actually sat down and talked to him about how you feel? Perhaps he, like you, has had enough too but lacks the financial wherewithal to move on. 

One thing is for certain, neither of you sound happy.

Q: My boyfriend suggested I need to go on a diet. I feel really bad and have cried a lot. How should I handle this situation? 

He is not a bad person. I know he loves me and I love him. He just doesn't think I am pretty and it hurts sometimes. I don't what to do. I am 5' 2'' & 119 pounds.

A: I’d ditch the boyfriend and buy a pizza. 

Seriously at 8.5 stone the guy is talking rubbish and why on earth are you with a man who ‘just doesn’t think you are pretty’? 

You say he is not a bad person. He is certainly an unkind person and, I suspect, a controlling person. 

Is he an adonis with immaculately honed pecs? I’m guessing not. 

You say he loves you. If you love someone you do not deliberately try to hurt them, nor mould them into some warped idea of a perfect image. 

Is he controlling in other ways? Have you lost touch with your friends and family? Does he tell you how to dress? How much make-up you can wear? 

I think you need to talk to a friend or family member you can trust and extricate yourself from this man. 

If you do want to stay with him (and I can’t think why), then he needs to be told in no uncertain terms that your weight is fine and if he is unhappy with that - there’s the door.

Q: How can I help my boyfriend with unloving parents?

He told me his parents said they're kicking him out and they don't like him not being home all the time even though he's usually just at work and they want him to go to school. He sounds really upset and said his mum told him she wished he was never born. What can I say to him to help and comfort him?

A: I’m not sure how old you both are but I’m guessing pretty young and, unfortunately, if you’re living at home with your parents you still have to live by their rules. 

You say he is ‘usually just at work’ but is this job something that is likely to further him in life? Don’t you think his parents just want more for him? 

I’m not sure why he says they don’t like him not being home all the time. What does he get up to when he is not at work? 

Does he actually give his parents any money towards his upkeep? Does he help around the house? 

If the answer to these questions is generally ‘no’, I’m not surprised his mum has lost her temper and, since mums are human too, sometimes when they’re at the end of their rope, yes, they do say mean things. 

You say his parents are ‘unloving’ but if this is the only incident then they sound perfectly reasonable to me. 

It’s not ‘unloving’ to want the best for your kids and for them to achieve all they can in life. 

It’s not always easy for parents to express this in a good, motivating way though and I suspect that the threat to throw your boyfriend out means that really have had enough and, if he wants to stay, he needs to change his ways. 

If you want to help him, why not gently point out that he’s an adult now and needs to take a little more responsibility for his life. 

If he really doesn’t want to go to school then he needs to discuss this calmly with his parents but with an alternative of how he plans to pay his way rather than living comfortably at home with his parents running around after him. 

I’m sure your boyfriend was upset by his mum’s comment but rather than sulk, it’s time for him to consider his parents’ feelings and act like the adult he now is. 

Q: A worker from a local zoo offered my mom free admission & told her to e-mail how many tickets she wants. Is it rude to ask for extra for friends?

This happened at an office party at the hospital where my mother works. We are a family of three. We know a family of seven who might be able to come: but would be hard for them to afford, otherwise.

A: Yes it is a bit cheeky and I suspect you know that, hence the question. 

You might ask the worker if it would be possible for the other family to receive a discount on their tickets, or for the whole party to receive a discount on their entry fee, rather than free tickets. 

Are you also sure that the worker has the authority to give you free tickets? I’d check that out just to make sure too - and before you raise anyone else’s hopes. 

If you do go, a few social media posts (Instagram, Facebook etc) would be nice to promote the zoo. 

But before you do anything else, you need to contact the zoo and see if the offer still stands and chat to them about including the other family. 

People often make all kinds of promises at parties without necessarily having the means to deliver on them afterwards. 

If you do go, I hope you all have a great time.

Q: What should I do when I am unemployed and my boyfriend takes care of me? I think he will use that to take advantage of me? 

A: I’m not sure what you mean by “take advantage of you”. 

Surely if you are not contributing financially and living with him, he is the one who is more likely to feel taken advantage of? 

If you are already unhappy with how you are treated by him, then you need to deal with this. 

Is he unkind or controlling? Do you stay because you have no money and nowhere else to go? 

If so, do you have any friends or family you could stay with until you get back on your feet? 

If he is not unkind then why do you suppose his behaviour will change? 

It may be he will lose patience if you do nothing to get another job and lounge around watching TV all day. 

But if you are unemployed through ill health then you need to talk to him about support for you both. 

Without knowing your exact situation it is difficult to comment but in life, in general, if you don’t want to be taken advantage of you need to take responsibility for yourself, your happiness and your job prospects.

How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page.

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Win Organic Coconut Body Care Products From Urtekram

Hygge is everywhere at the moment. It's the Danish concept of making ordinary, everyday moments special and there's nothing like making the most of your beauty and bathing rituals.

I don't know about you but all that Christmas planning, shopping and mince pie eating is quite exhausting and a restorative hot shower can help set the world to rights - especially if you can lock the Husband and kids out of the bathroom!

To help, organic Danish brand Urtekram (which means 'herbalism') has launched a new coconut-scented organic body care range and I have a basket of goodies to give away to one lucky winner.

Urtrekam Range of Coconut Body Products

Founded in 1972, Urtekram is renowned for creating plant-based products which are wholesome and natural. Their organic body care ranges contain shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, shower gels, soaps and scrubs, crystal deodorants, hand creams and toothpastes in a variety of natural fragrances which use aromatic herbs, fragrant flowers and natural oils.

The new Urtekram coconut range has four products - shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, each infused with organic virgin coconut oil and organic coconut nectar, from palm trees in the South Seas.

Urtekram Coconut Shampoo has organic coconut nectar and daisy flower extract, to naturally moisturise, and seaweed extract to revitalise the hair.

Containing organic virgin coconut oil, the Coconut Conditioner naturally helps to nourish and moisturise normal hair.

Both products are lightly fragranced and designed to leave hair with a delicate scent of natural coconut sweetness.

The Coconut Shower Gel has organic coconut nectar and diglycerin to naturally cleanse and moisturise, while Urtekram’s Coconut Body Lotion, has organic virgin coconut oil and hyaluronic acid which is easily absorbed, nourishing and rejuvenates the epidermis.

Like all Urtekram products, all four new hair and body care lines have achieved the Ecocert COSMOS Organic Standard, the new gold standard governing the content and the methods approved for the manufacture of organic ingredients.

The whole range of Urtekram hair, body and oral care products are hypoallergenic and Vegan Society-approved, and they are free from parabens, synthetic ingredients and artificial colours – just as nature intended.

Urtekram products are also certified by Ecocert Greenlife and meet the COSMOS Organic Standard.

Urtekram skin and beauty preparations are priced from £1.75 and available from Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic and independent health and beauty retailers nationwide.

You can find further information at www.urtekram.com or www.healthyfoodbrands.co.uk.

Now to the giveaway. To win the lovely selection of products below, just enter via the Rafflecopter widget.

Prize hamper of Urtrekram Coconut Body Products

The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and the usual terms and conditions apply which can be viewed on my competitions page.

The giveaway ends on 11:59 pm on Sunday 18th December.  The winner must confirm their details no later than Tuesday 20th December in order to receive their prize in time for Christmas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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