A Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Silent Sunday - 28/09/2014


Monday, 22 September 2014

Monday Morning Lemsip

It is Monday morning in the Hobbis household and I have the kind of head cold that renders you grumpy and out of sorts with the world.  It is the sort of cold that makes you want to retire to your bed with a Mary Berry recipe book,  a milky coffee and a packet of digestives.  My eyes sting, my ears hurt and their usual buzzing has been amplified to an even higher pitched "wheeeeee".

I should have been taking the advice of my many natural health books and making batches of chicken soup, dosing myself with echinacea and drinking honey, lemon and cinnamon but, as usual, whilst I have been mentally flirting with these ideas, the reality is a fresh box of tissues and some Lemsip capsules swigged down with lukewarm tea. I always think it is baffling that whilst we are even now planning to create cities in space, nobody has managed to eradicate the common cold.

Plus now that the kids have settled back into their routine, I'm noticing that, aside from housework, I don't really have a routine.  Certainly nothing mentally challenging is looming on the horizon. The garden is wearing its autumn jacket and there are leaves to be swept. I have a pile of novels to read (I still haven't got around to reading Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies) and more recipe books to peruse than the cookery section of Waterstones.

I could tidy up my wardrobe, although it mainly comprises leggings and the odd frock for going out to dinner with the hubby. Or, I could attack the nightmare that is 'toy corner' in our lounge and weed out all the broken and outgrown toys.  Previous attempts to do this though have resulted in Caitlin and Ieuan going through charity bags when my back is turned and replacing anything which could be passed on with cries of "but muuuum we still play with it" - when I know full well said toy hasn't seen the light of day for at least three months.

I haven't even got the energy to start planning for Christmas (well, it is nearly October!) or, my other favourite, Halloween. Every year I revisit Martha Stewart's Halloween guide and plan six foot witches and cats cut out of balsa wood and painted black (by the hubby obviously), ignoring that fact that we've nowhere to put them and since our garden is walled around its entire perimeter, nobody apart from us will see them anyway.

I need something to get me out of this slump.  But what?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I'm Buzzing - My Tinnitus is Back!

It's back. The incessant buzzing in my ears. My Tinnitus is back. Who knows what triggered it. The usual suspects could be caffeine, red wine, chocolate, aspartame or sudden loud noises. The hairs in my cochlea could be bent. It could be too much ibruprofen. The buzzing has reduced slightly today after a good night's sleep (thank you amitryptyline) but in the name of silence how come so little can be done for a complaint which affects thousands in the UK?

Source:  www.idailymail.co.uk

That is the number one question asked in the Facebook tinnitus forums - and the question that has no answer.  There are trials being conducted - nebulous trials involving implanting iPod like devices in the sufferer's body.  There are drug trials - apparently anti-epilepsy drugs have shown positive results in preventing tinnitus in mice.  Great for the mice but useless for the rest of us.  Is that the choice? Listen to the endless cacophony in your ears or wander round like a zombie, zoned out on medication?

It is very difficult too, to describe to someone what it's like and thus sympathy tends to be short lived and advice focuses on the "well you'll just have to live with it and pull yourself together".  I am pretty sure my tinnitus developed as a result of listening to music too loudly on the Sony Walkman (in the days of cassette tapes) and I worry about people today who play their ipod tunes so loudly that the bass or treble can be heard by everyone else in the railway carriage or the length of the bus.  Then there are those who, as we walk to school in the morning, play music in their car so loudly it sounds like someone is beating the side of their car with a mallet or worse, those who take in-car telephone calls at a volume which ensures their entire conversation can be heard miles away.  "She did what???" - speak up love, there's someone in the Outer Hebrides who didn't quite catch that.

I am going to have to bite the bullet and start wearing my hearing aids.  I'm told it will replace the buzzing with sound at the frequency my ears are missing and so I'll gradually notice it less and less. Reports on whether hearing aids are effective in masking tinnitus are equally mixed on the forums but I will give it a go.  I did try them a few weeks back at a children's party.  This was obviously completely the wrong occasion to try them out and the sound volume was so loud, they were swiftly removed and hidden in my handbag.  

I have heard good reports about Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) which uses cognitive behavioural techniques to change the way you think about your tinnitus.  I am not sure that it is available in Cardiff or the Vale though.  

In the meantime, I'm trying to take my mind off it and if you're suffering with it today too, you have my heartfelt sympathy.  

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Silent Sunday - 07/09/2014


Thursday, 4 September 2014

A Year of Beauty & Health? I Wish!

It is 4 pm and the Husband has taken the kids to their swimming lesson. I am sat in blissful silence, save the now permanent sound of house renovation taking place in our street and the monotonous drone of an outsize lawn-mower chugging across the postage stamp of a lawn in one of the houses backing on to our garden.

The day is unseasonably warm with the kind of heat that leaves you drowsy and heavy-limbed. I briefly tidy up the house and, in a fit of domestic fervour, whip up a blackberry and apple cake in tribute to what promises to be a golden autumn.

As I wait for the cake to bake, I ponder all manner of things, particularly my various ailments, the latest of which is a strange tension headache which grips me either side of my skull at odd moments. I worry, given the presence of epilepsy and numerous brain tumours on my mother's side of the family, that I am potentiallly a goner. Then there are the back exercises I am supposed to do to strengthen my lower back. And the hearing aids I am supposed to wear to help my tinnitus.  The week after next I have one visit to Llandough Hospital and another to the Heath Hospital scheduled. Let's put it this way, I am no stranger to the gynaecology department.

So it is with no small irony that I recall a book I once read many years ago by Beverly and Vidal Sassoon entitled "A Year of Beauty & Health".  It was written in 1975 and since that time I have had approximately a year of beauty and health!  Actually the one piece of advice I can remember is that, when shampooing your hair, you only need a dollop of shampoo the size of a 10p piece.

This was before celebrity hairdressers realised that, in order to sell your product, you had to encourage hair washing on a daily basis, together with conditioner, mask, conditioning spray, straightening balm, hairspray and a small payday loan with which to purchase said items.

This is probably why I have a cupboard full of shampoo and conditioner remnants - the latest include Brazilian Macademia Oil shampoo and Elvive's Fixology, neither of which have given me hair like the late Farrah Fawcett.  I truly don't understand how the Hair & Beauty Industry survives because it takes me an age to finish anything - from shampoo to cleanser and lipstick. I suspect that the houses of the United Kingdom are stuffed with half used beauty products whilst we all dance to the tune of the Pied Piper that is Beauty Industry marketing and walk zombie like towards Boots and Superdrug in a state of fervent anticipation.This is also probably why the annual beauty awards tend to go to the same products ad nauseum. Liz Earle, YSL Touche Eclat, Clinique Chubby Sticks, you know the ones.

I wish I could remember what I've done with the Sassoon tome. Given the state of the old bod, there are probably things more important I should have been doing than rationing my shampoo usage.  Like drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  And exercising.

That's never going to be as exciting as a trip to Boots though, is it?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Where's Roger The Shrubber When You Need Him?

Early Autumn and, given that the kids are wound up like tops ready to rejoin the rank and file of sticky fingered and over-excitable school pupils, and the now deflated paddling pool has completely ruined the lawn, I feel it is time to pick up the secateurs for some gardening. I use the term "gardening" loosely because, although my friend The Sybil (she of infinite and random wisdom) introduced me to the pleasures of horticulture and I now can almost see the point of Alan Titchmarsh, I must confess I'm still not altogether sure what on earth I'm supposed to be doing.

Fuchsia Mayhem

The previous owners of our house must have had a thing about Fuchsias because their purple tendrils reach everywhere, no matter how often they are trimmed (hacked!) back. They have totally swallowed up the sunshine along one length of our small walled garden which consists of raised beds along two sides of a square and a long garage running the length of the third. The shrubs I have planted there have wilted in the constant shade.

The garden is reached either through the kitchen or, primarily via glass french doors at the end of an extended lounge outside of which is a small patio.  The potential for mud and mess as the kids run through the lounge is, as you might imagine, considerable.

I have tried to add some shrubs and some herbs, mostly procured from Morrisons or our local garden center on SWAT missions with The Sybil. These generally involve her pointing at plants and me putting them in the trolley. Some I can recognise, roses, lavender, rosemary, pansies - all the easy ones are in my "Dummies Guide to Gardening For the Peri-Menopausal". Sadly, despite recognising them, their fate is very hit and miss.

Geraniums (I think)!

I have managed to grow some strawberries and last year had a bumper crop of tomatoes and beans which, shamefully, mostly went to waste.  I am afraid my vintage housewife score dropped radically through failure to produce a batch of spicy tomato chutney or anything vaguely inspiring involving runner beans.  I may try again next year when I am better prepared and armed with a full chutney kit!

If in doubt, use the old statue and wind-chimes disguise...

I have cunningly pruned this, erm, plant to resemble a triangle
The biggest problem I have at the moment is the whacking great bald patch on the lawn where the paddling pool sat. It looks like a monk's tonsure and I'm praying the grass grows back quickly.

My bald spot

The husband is campaigning to fill the raised beds with chippings and replace the plants with things in pots. He may have a point. If he does, I shall take a leaf out of the Knights Who Say Ni's book and call for Roger the Shrubber. Does anyone have his number?

Roger the Shrubber from Monty Python & The Holy Grail

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